Introduction to “Time as Kinship” by Kyle Whyte, in Hindi translation

We are proud to bring to you the Hindi translation of University of Michigan environmental justice scholar Dr. Kyle Whyte’s soon-to-be-classic essay, “Time as Kinship.”

In this essay, the original English version of which can be found here, Dr. Whyte reflects on the linear nature of time as used in climate science, and contrasts that with what he calls kinship time, which inspires the way various Indigenous peoples tell the story of the changing climate.  As many Indigenous communities around the world know very well, renewable energy projects that are supposed to rescue us from climate change are often forced upon these communities without any respect for their rights, enacting the same colonialist nightmares of dispossession, displacement, destruction of sacred lands, pollution and other harm that various industries inflict and have inflicted upon them.  Dr. Whyte shows us how a perspective arising from kinship time (where kinship is defined more broadly than biological relationships), not only implies certain key values, such as reciprocity and trust, but also opens space for a justice-centered engagement with the climate crisis. 

The concept of kinship time is especially necessary now that those in power are already in the process of co-opting the climate crisis.  It deserves wider circulation, dissemination and discussion.  We hope that the Hindi translation by Rajender Negi will not only bring these powerful ideas to Hindi speakers in the Indian subcontinent, but will also encourage cross-cultural dialogues between Indigenous peoples around the world, including our Adivasi communities in India, who are facing many of the same pressures alluded to in Dr. Whyte’s essay.

(Note: The Hindi translation does not include the references or the diagram in the original version – for these, please see the link to the English original).