Toward Interspecies Thinking as a Collaborative Concept

Autoethnographies at the Intersection of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Animal Studies


  • Adam J. Fix
  • Hugh Burnam
  • Ray Gutteriez



Despite the recent surge in academic activity around traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), there is still relatively little work on the intersection of TEK and Animal Studies. This paper represents an exploratory attempt at reconciling the two fields using interspecies thinking as an analytic paradigm. We argue that both TEK and Animal Studies challenge the imposition of anthropocentric narratives as truth, thereby asking us to reconsider the basic assumptions and narratives about human uniqueness that we construct and affirm in our daily lives. We propose a move toward interspecies thinking as a collaborative concept, which begins from Indigenous cosmological foundations, provides the basis for intercultural collaboration, and from this position chooses to focus most intensively on the narratives and practices that comprise the human/nonhuman animal divide. We discuss the importance of autoethnography as a method for navigating this terrain and offer three autoethnographic accounts that function as both an exploration of the topic from unique perspectives and an invitation to other Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to engage in a critical dialogue situated at this intersection.


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Author Biographies

Adam J. Fix

Adam Fix is a visiting scholar at the Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources, and a PhD candidate at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF). He is an interdisciplinary social scientist who focuses on working across cultures to build sustainable more-than-human communities. Adam’s dissertation project examines the beliefs and strategies of self-proclaimed “allies” of Indigenous-led environmental protection movements in New York and Chiapas (Mexico). From 2014 to 2017, he worked as an adjunct professor of animal ethics at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.

Hugh Burnam

Hugh Burnam (Mohawk Nation, Wolf Clan) is a Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Foundations of Education at Syracuse University. His research interests include: higher education student experiences, Haudenosaunee language revitalization, Indigenous masculinities, environmental activism efforts, and Tribal Critical Race Theory.  Honoring Native/ Indigenous knowledges, Hugh’s dissertation explores Haudenosaunee identity and worldview in order to understand Haudenosaunee men’s experiences in higher education and ways to define Haudenosaunee masculinities. Burnam is also a Public Humanities Fellow of New York (2017-18).

Ray Gutteriez

Raymond Gutteriez (Wuksachi Band of Mono Indians, Eagle Clan) is the Environmental Director for Cold Springs Rancheria of Mono Indians. As a scholar and practitioner his interests include: Eco-Cultural Restoration; Indigenous Land Stewardship; Co-Evolution of Land and Culture; Western Mono Language Revitalization; and Climate Change Impacts, Resilience, and Adaptation in Indigenous Communities. Ray is working at the forefront of studying and managing climate change impacts in the Southern Sierra Nevada Range in California from an Indigenous perspective.




How to Cite

Fix, Adam J., Hugh Burnam, and Ray Gutteriez. 2019. “Toward Interspecies Thinking As a Collaborative Concept: Autoethnographies at the Intersection of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Animal Studies”. Humanimalia 10 (2):128-49.