FDA, CDC to Incorporate ‘Indigenous Knowledge’ in Research: Report

The Washington Free Beacon obtained documents suggesting that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may incorporate “indigenous knowledge” in future research.

The document is a proposed revision of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) scientific integrity guidelines.

“A strong culture of scientific integrity begins with ensuring a professional environment that is safe, equitable, and inclusive. Issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility are an integral component of the entire scientific process,” the document says, adding, “The responsible and ethical conduct of research and other scientific activities requires an environment that is equitable, inclusive, safe, and free from harassment, discrimination, and exploitation.”

“HHS also works to apply scientific integrity practices in ways that are inclusive of non-traditional modes of science, such as citizen science, community-engaged research, participatory science, and crowdsourcing,” the document notes. “This may include expanded scientific integrity practices and expectations, such as granting communities more autonomy over research questions and research design, recognition of data and knowledge sovereignty, and inclusion of multiple forms of evidence, such as Indigenous Knowledge.”

In December 2022, the White House released indigenous knowledge guidelines.

“Indigenous Knowledge is a body of observations, oral and written knowledge, innovations, practices, and beliefs developed by Tribes and Indigenous Peoples through interaction and experience with the environment,” the statement reads.

“The Biden-Harris Administration has formally recognized Indigenous Knowledge as one of the many important bodies of knowledge that contributes to the scientific, technical, social, and economic advancements of the United States and our collective understanding of the natural world.”

Arati Prabhakar, Biden’s Science and Technology Advisor and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director said of the guidance, “Federal decision making is best when informed by all forms of knowledge. This Guidance will help Federal agencies integrate Indigenous Knowledge in their work—from research, to environmental rulemaking, to co-management of lands and waters.”

The guidance aims to assist agencies in “understanding Indigenous Knowledge,” “Growing and maintaining the mutually beneficial relationships with Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples needed to appropriately include Indigenous Knowledge,” and “Considering, including, and applying Indigenous Knowledge in Federal research, policies, management, and decision making.”