4 June 2024 Start
4 June 2024 End
16:00 - 18:00 Time
Germany Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, HS XII im Hauptgebäude (1st floor, city side), Bonn


Decolonising research on Sea Country

June 4, 2024

Decolonising research on Sea Country with Gimuy Walubara Yidinji

A lecture by Redbird Ferguson, organised by the German Archaeological Institute

The world is grappling with the challenge of finding sustainable approaches to conserving and protecting our ocean and coastal systems, increasing the urgency to recognise and include Indigenous Knowledge and cultural values of Sea Country in our solutions. Sea Country is under threat and current approaches are falling short. It is proposed that Australia is at risk of losing 40% of its beaches by the end of the century. With more than 85% of Australia’s population (and 40% of the world) living within 50kms of the coast this will have a significant impact on lives and livelihoods. We need to consider every resource, and all knowledge systems. However, research has a long history of extractive practices closely tied to colonial state power, particularly when the research involves indigenous peoples. Decolonising research practice is fundamental to supporting and upholding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to ethical research. This project uses participatory methods and co-design to work in partnership with the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji, the Indigenous Traditional Owners of Gimuy, known as Cairns, Australia to bring together Indigenous Knowledge and Western Scientific knowledge to support cross-cultural approaches to managing Sea Country. We have produced a framework to support researchers and Indigenous communities negotiating research agreement negotiations, combined remote sensing with Indigenous Knowledge of estuaries, and contributed to policy change within the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences. This project contributes to improving how Indigenous Knowledge and tribal science is recognised as more than an additional form of environmental knowledge. In turn, this supports and improves how heritage is managed and conserved for future generations.