An Indigenous-Led Approach for Regional Knowledge Partnerships in the Kimberley Region of Australia

Abstract

Scientists, Indigenous peoples, and local communities are increasingly seeking to combine their expertise to support sustainable management of social-ecological systems for diverse values, from local to global scales. In this paper we present an Indigenous-led approach to enable multiple evidence-based research, monitoring, and evaluation of the health of ‘Saltwater Country.’ This highlights the need to ensure knowledge can be shared, used, and co-developed to care for coastal and marine social-ecological systems within and across the Kimberley region of north-western Australia in an ethical and equitable manner. Structured yet fluid knowledge networks need to be negotiated and supported to enable Indigenous communities to implement this approach, which also requires coordinated institutional support and resourcing to produce useable knowledge that is easily translated into programs of action. We here present a process for regional-scale collaboration between Indigenous and local knowledge systems, western science, and other knowledge systems for the purpose of collaborative natural and cultural resource management and sustainable Indigenous futures.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    The Yawuru and Karajarri Traditional Owners are neighbours with close cultural connections who chose to hold a single joint workshop in Broome.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the collaborative efforts of the Kimberley Indigenous Saltwater Science Project (KISSP) Working Committee who gave the project direction and purpose. We also thank the Balangarra, Bardi Jawi, Dambimangari, Karajarri, Nyul Nyul, Wunambal Gaambera, and Yawuru Traditional Owners who hosted the work on their Country and contributed invaluable time and expertise to workshops. The project was funded through the Western Australia Marine Science Institution’s (WAMSI) Kimberley Marine Research Project (KMRP) https://www.wamsi.org.au/research-site/indigenous-knowledge and the CSIRO.

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Austin, B.J., Robinson, C.J., Mathews, D. et al. An Indigenous-Led Approach for Regional Knowledge Partnerships in the Kimberley Region of Australia. Hum Ecol 47, 577–588 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-019-00085-9

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Keywords

  • Indigenous peoples
  • Research ethics
  • Local knowledge systems
  • Regional collaboration
  • Kimberley
  • Australia