Naapi and Niche Construction: Traditional stories discuss how organisms direct the shaping of their environments

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 11 May, 2017 - 15:45
Abstract Key Words: 
Multi-Species Ontologies, Ethnozoology, land and well-being
, Nimachia
, Raymond - University of Kansas

Western science acknowledges niche construction, where life forms create niches across a range of scales. Multigenerational changes affect selective environments of offspring and other species. Niitsitapii (Blackfoot) peoples of the northern plains embody their creator figure, Naapi, through movement or changes in the environment, involving all species. Naapi stories are rooted in movement; in points of transformation between types of matter or locations. Ontological connections link actions of plant and animal species through growth patterns, structures, seasons, and interactions. Animal species’ activities are noted and related to the constant exchanges between earth and sky, also impacts on plant species and on one another. Naapi stories involve immediate, abiotic reality with ecological relational levels. Both niche construction and Naapi stories involve apparent directional activity within unpredictably varying environments. This resolves a major evolutionary question, i.e. evidence of purpose and directed outcomes within a system resulting from apparently random events.