This chapter explores the semantic field of ‘knowledge’, ‘sciences’ and ‘concepts’, prefixed by the term indigenous. It discusses the genealogy of the term in the works of historians, philosophers and sociologists of science and knowledge. The vocation of the concept of indigenous knowledge commenced in anthropology to designate the knowledge of indigenous first peoples; over time, it was deployed by intragovernmental agencies and movements of first peoples to protect their rights and cultures. The chapter argues that in addition to referring to the knowledge of ‘indigenous people’, the terms indigenous knowledge, indigenous science and indigenous concepts possess a contestatory force, and operate as a metatheoretical concept within social theory and histories, or theories, of knowledge. It also argues that with the crisis of development and modernization theory in the 1960s and 1970s, diffusionist theories of science and knowledge faced a serious challenge, arising first from the so-called linguistic and then social turns in their many incarnations.