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.
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 is being led by Dr Ro Hill from CSIRO and Ricky Archer from NAILSMA. Dr Hill and Mr Archer are being 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 are collaborators in this research.