Key Concepts

The ideas listed here are all interlinked with the pages on this website in a number of different places. However, they particularly support the pages that describe different ways of knowing, learning about, and responding to the natural world — the core of Tapestry Institute’s mission. We have designated these terms as “key concepts” necessary to understand Indigenous Knowledge and Ways of Knowing, which means they fall within the general realm of philosophy. Some of the concepts — especially emergence, worldview, paradigm, and paradigm shift — are prominent parts Western philosophy. They are included here because each helps explain a key aspect of Indigenous philosophy and so helps create a bridge between cultures. The pages on Indigenous worldview, myth, relationship and reciprocity, the Land, and justice express primarily Indigenous philosophy. Each of these important concepts may be described in somewhat different ways by different Indigenous scholars or Elders. We have done our best to explain them in a way that helps clarify their use on our site.

Modern Worldview

Indigenous Worldview

The Land

Relationship and Reciprocity




Paradigm Shifts

Justice and Law

Indigenous Perception

If you would like to learn more about the philosophical tenets of Indigenous peoples worldwide, you may wish to explore one or more of these resources: