Indigenous Science Content

Australia’s Indigenous Knowledge and knowledge systems are by their very nature complex and interdisciplinary and cannot be viewed as mere subsets of Australia’s Western knowledge systems. To provide an easy to navigate, central resource that brings together information about Indigenous knowledge and knowledge systems, as well as indigenous studies these pages, have been structured into six themes:

 

Food

Over 60,000 years. Indigenous food knowledges have continued to develop and refine a variety of methods for the processing, cooking, and preserving of native flora and fauna. Indigenous native foods are commonly referred to as ‘Bush Tucker’ and are notably nutrition dense, sustainable food options for the Australian continent. Indigenous food knowledge ranges from the agricultural practices used to farm crop plants, to the intricate traps engineered to filter and capture eel populations, medicinal and health properties of native foods, and the preservation methods used to prepare meats for long distance transport. In this section, we provide resources relating to these areas.
[Photo by Triangle-eight on Unsplash]

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Health and Wellbeing

This section covers both topics that mainstream science would currently identify as “medicine” along with more holistic approaches to medicine. The Aboriginal view on health (National Aboriginal Health Strategy) considers “not just the physical well being of the individual, but the social, emotional, and cultural well-being of the whole community. This is the whole-of-life view and it also includes the cyclical concept of life-death-life”.

[Photo: by Rita Morais on Unsplash]

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Landscape

Australia is a vast land with hugely variable environments. Since the First Australians arrived so many millennia ago, Australia has seen sea-level rise, significant volcanic activity, changes in rainfall, and changes in river patterns. From understanding where reliable water desert is found in the desert to the use of fire for managing game and horticulture, the First Australian’s used Science in everyday life to thrive. Passed through oral teachings the observations were protected by complex systems to ensure that knowledge was retained and available to future generations. I think this might roll in with plants and animals

[Photo by Carles Rabada on Unsplash]

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Number patterns

Number patterns cover the diverse way that numbers, counting, and relationships between things can be expressed or considered. For some background of Indigenous number patterns, or mathematics see this video for the AECC website by Quandamooka man and Professor of mathematics, Chris Matthews. 

[Photo: by Emma Matthews Content Production on Unsplash]

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Plants and Animals

The First Australians had millennia to study the way that land, plants and animals interacted and were interlinked. Their ability to observe and collect information about these natural systems allowed 60,000+ years of continuous culture. The earliest observational scientists who’s society is still with us. This encyclopedia-like knowledge and an understanding that nature was different across place and time, was vital to successfully inhabit every part of Australia. The perspectives that developed over those millennia are still here for us to learn from.  The resources in Plants and Animals cover a wide range of resources from A to B[Photo by Curioso photography on Unsplash]

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Skies

The skies have been used for millennia to encode Indigenous knowledge systems, serving as a library for oral cultures, and inform many Aboriginal cultural and scientific practices. Indigenous astronomy is a field that exemplifies the interconnected nature of Indigenous science and Indigenous knowledge systems as a whole. Each field of knowledge is tightly interwoven, and this section will go on to demonstrate how even features in the sky are connected to features with us on the ground.
[Photo: by Carles Rabada on Unsplash]

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Technology

While it is a common myth that Australia’s first peoples didn’t have any technology that is categorically untrue. The technology used and perfected by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders throughout Australia shows regional adaptation, development over time, a long history, and a strong understanding of the resources available. In this section, you will find resources about how aquaculture systems were built into the rock and how you have to understand aerodynamics to make a good boomerang. 

[Photo: by Rita Morais on Unsplash]

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