In partnership with CSIRO, the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), and with support from the Australian Committee of the IUCN, we answered a call from the Indigenous-majority Project Steering Group to develop a set of Best Practice Guidelines for working with Indigenous knowledge in land and sea management that would:
The Best Practice Guidelines are Indigenous-led, based on an open, transparent process established by the Project Steering Group of calling for Indigenous Peoples to submit case studies that demonstrate best practice in working with Indigenous knowledge. Indigenous leadership of the Guidelines occurred through:
Launch webcast video
Indigenous land management (ILM) occurs over significant proportions of northern Australia that contain many high-value environmental assets. Effective land management is vital to northern Australian development and Indigenous land managers have a strong desire to engage in the increasing level of development planning. Traditional Owners hold substantial knowledge about using, managing and safeguarding northern Australia’s natural and cultural resources, and a significant body of scientific research is also available. However, these knowledge resources have not yet fully empowered Traditional Owners’ land management and development capability. Several barriers impede effective knowledge uptake: technological barriers, such as unreliable internet access and a lack of plain English Information; social barriers such as poor health and other commitments that hinder senior custodians’ participation in knowledge-sharing; and organisational barriers such as excessive demands on staff to act as cultural brokers.
Effective knowledge brokering can help overcome barriers. Knowledge brokering is about the way we turn knowledge into action and it consists of five broad areas: problem identification, context analysis, knowledge development and selection, knowledge exchange work, and knowledge use. This project is involving Indigenous peoples as co-researchers to develop tools that are assisting them to identify useful knowledge resources and explore ways they can use different types of knowledge for decision-making. It is delivering:
Indigenous stewardship of land and sea is underpinned by self-determined decision-making based on relevant knowledge. The co-research approach places Indigenous people as central to driving the design and testing of the knowledge brokering tools, and sharing their findings with other Indigenous people, through peer-to-peer knowledge exchange, and with others through digital means. Two in-depth case studies are support Indigenous land managers:
This research applies across the Northern Hub region.
In the Kimberley’s Fitzroy River region, Traditional Owners and scientists have been working together on a project supported by the National Environmental Science Program (NESP) to help Indigenous land managers find better ways to use both scientific and Indigenous knowledge (IK) for making decisions for Country. Traditional Owners and scientists learned together and co-developed different ways of showing and sharing knowledge. The project was supported through collaborative research agreements with 10 different Traditional Owner Groups through their relevant organisations.
This recording is from the 30 July 2020 launch of “Our Knowledge, Our Way: Indigenous-led approaches to strengthening and sharing our knowledge for land and sea management.”
The guidelines were created with contributions from more than 100 Indigenous individuals and organisations. The guidelines are based on 23 case studies that illustrate the critical principle that Indigenous people must decide what is best practice when working with their knowledge.
The guidelines were supported by North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA) and CSIRO, and funded by the Northern Australia Hub of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP). To learn more, and to see the full film, please visit:
“Our Knowledge, Our Way: Indigenous-led approaches to strengthening and sharing our knowledge for land and sea management.”
The Our Knowledge, Our Way guidelines were created with contributions from more than 100 Indigenous individuals and organisations. They support a step-change in learning, by both Indigenous peoples and their partners, about best practice ways of working with Indigenous knowledge to look after land and sea Country.
The guidelines are based on 23 case studies that illustrate the critical principle that Indigenous people must decide what is best practice when working with their knowledge.
The guidelines were supported by North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA) and CSIRO, and funded by the Northern Australia Hub of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP).
To learn more, please visit the project page for Knowledge brokering for Indigenous land management.
Rosemary Hill, Çiğdem Adem, Wilfred V Alangui, Zsolt Molnár, Yildiz Aumeeruddy-Thomas, Peter Bridgewater, Maria Tengö, Randy Thaman, Constant Y Adou Yao, Fikret Berkes, Joji Carino, Manuela Carneiro da Cunha, Mariteuw C Diaw, Sandra Díaz, Viviana E Figueroa, Judy Fisher, Preston Hardison, Kaoru Ichikawa, Peris Kariuki, Madhav Karki, Phil OB Lyver, Pernilla Malmer, Onel Masardule, Alfred A Oteng Yeboah, Diego Pacheco, Tamar Pataridze, Edgar Perez, Michèle-Marie Roué, Hassan Roba, Jennifer Rubis, Osamu Saito, Dayuan Xue. 2020. Working with Indigenous, local and scientific knowledge in assessments of nature and nature’s linkages with people. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 43: 8-20, ISSN 1877-3435, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2019.12.006.
A video from the “Knowledge brokering for Indigenous land management” project’s July workshop at Birdwood Downs. This workshop led to the Fitzroy River catchment roadshow with the 3D map.
This video explains the work of a NESP Northern Australia Hub project led by CSIRO researchers and Traditional Owners in the Fitzroy River Catchment.
A 3D model of WA’s Fitzroy River catchment is supporting managing, documenting and decision-making about country for Traditional Owners. Construction of the model involved Traditional Owner schoolchildren in Fitzroy Crossing working with Hub project leader Dr Ro Hill and researcher Nat Raisbeck-Brown (CSIRO) to build the model out of foam contour shapes. The model was finished in Perth, by smoothing the contours with gel and painting it white. The surface of the model is soft and flexible so that pins can be added to mark important places and tracks. This allows Traditional Owner groups to show one another places of cultural significance, knowing they can take the information (pins) away later to protect their cultural and intellectual rights. The white surface provides a platform onto which spatial data can be projected, bringing western science knowledge to the model. The model provides a place where Indigenous knowledge added by the Traditional Owners and western science knowledge can interact, showing where and how they overlap in the catchment.
Tengö M, Hill R, Malmer P, Raymond CM, Spierenburg M, Danielsen F, Elmqvist T & Folke C. 2017. Weaving knowledge systems in IPBES, CBD and beyond—lessons learned for sustainability. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 26–27:17-25. ISSN 1877-3435. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2016.12.005
This project was led by Dr Ro Hill from CSIRO and Ricky Archer from NAILSMA. Dr Hill and Mr Archer were supported by additional researchers from CSIRO and NAILSMA. Indigenous land managers from across northern Australia are involved in knowledge sharing activities.
Bunuba Dawangarri Aboriginal Corporation, Garawa Traditional Owners, Gooniyandi Aboriginal Corporation, Jaru Claimant Group, Kija Claimant Group, Ngarrawarnji Claimant Group, Tiya-Tiya Aboriginal Corporation, Waanyi Traditional Owners, Walalakoo Aboriginal Corporation, Warrwa Claimant Group, Wilinggin Aboriginal Corporation, Yi-Martuwarra/Yanunijarra Aboriginal Corporation and Yungngora Aboriginal Corporation were collaborators in this research.
This project was completed in 2020.