Knowledge is a reflection of the society of which it is a part. Two different knowledge paradigms have developed, both making claim to "facts and "truths". While indigenous knowledge (IK) is valued by the people of its community, scientific knowledge (SK) has a broader following and demands a higher status to that of IK. Knowledge is cumulative and provisional, and both paradigms have had cause to adapt their knowledge systems to suit changing circumstances. The direction of SK has changed since its development and is now guided and funded by the state and capitalist class. While SK has been seen by society as having the monopoly on the "truth", faith in science has weakened. Society is heading in a new direction toward the value of IK and its integration in our knowledge system in the hope that it may hold answers toward the environmental recovery of our planet.
Search for knowledge is initiated by instincts of inquisition. IK and SK have different knowledge systems and lay claim to differing "facts" and "truths". SK is described as the search for universal causal laws and truths. It has received dominant knowledge status because it is written, transmitted through education and research institutions, residing within international networks, very different from those of an indigenous community. IK has been developed by trial and error for the community from which it derives, transmitted through generations by imitation and demonstration, based on tradition and owned collectively by its community. .
The development of scientific knowledge dates back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Military research resulted in funding and political support after World War II which began a relationship of growing domination (Harvey, 1992). .
During colonisation by the dominant countries, theories of biological determinism were used to "prove" that blacks were a distinct species from the Europeans, inferior and less intelligent and their beliefs were portrayed as being based upon superstition (Lewontin, 1997, p11,12).