Thinkers on indigenous societies

Thinkers on indigenous societies

These thinkers will provide you with brilliant insights into the world, and help you to consolidate your understanding of knowledge & indigenous societies.

You can also draw on their ideas to support the discussions within your exhibition commentary, and add depth and authority to the assertions you make about knowledge. To explore them in more detail, consult our Knowledge Heroes resource.

Rebecca Adamson (b. 1950)

Adamson is an American Cherokee businessperson and advocate. She is the founder of First Peoples Worldwide. She is one of our knowledge heroes, appearing in the BQ lessons to help us to explore indigenous societies.

Black Elk (1863 – 1950)

Black Elk was a Sioux medicine man and spiritual leader. He spoke of the unity of all men, and tried to emphasize the similarity of spiritual beliefs regardless of the different religious traditions from which they came.

Wade Davis (b. 1953)

Davis is National Geographic’s Explorer-in-Residence, and has a vast knowledge of indigenous peoples all over the globe. His research and studies of other cultures is characterized by respect and wonder, enabling him to truly acquire different perspectives through which to view the world.

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri (1932 – 2003)

Tjapaltjarri was a one of the key figures in the indigenous Australian art movement. His art often featured representations of dreaming stories, thus making use of both imagination and indigenous knowledge systems.

Make full use of this content in the classroom!

Knowledge Heroes enables you to link these thinkers to the course. For each thinker, you’ll find a notable quote, a description of how their ideas relate to TOK, an associated exhibition prompt, and activities and media sources to explore their work. Access the resource here.

Many of the key thinkers make regular appearances in our TOK newsletter. This helps you to make sense of the most important events going on today, and grasp how TOK concepts manifest in the real world. Read a recent edition here, subscribe to the free version here, and gain access to the premium version by joining