Genuinely working two-way with Indigenous communities utilizing both Indigenous and Western worldviews, knowledges and practices

Petra Buergelt, Lawurrpa Elaine Maypilama, Dorrothy Yuŋgirrŋa Bukulatjpi, Rosemary Guŋdjarranbuy, Stephen Dhamarrandji, Tahir Ali, Douglas Paton, James A Smith

Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Otherpeer-review

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Climate change and substantial, increasing disasters present a considerable challenge to developing Northern Australia. Historical and contemporary colonisation strategies, including eroding Indigenous culture in diverse ways whilst imposing ecologically, culturally, socially and spiritually inappropriate Western disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies on Indigenous communities and using top-down Western governance, led to remote and very remote Indigenous communities becoming more vulnerable to experiencing climate change and disasters. At the same time, Indigenous worldviews, knowledges and practices are increasingly recognised as the key to not only reducing the risk of disasters and adapt to climate change but also to averting the existential crisis we experience across the globe and living sustainable lives and livelihoods. Realising the value of Indigenous knowledges, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) urges Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and organisations to work collaboratively to regenerate and strengthen Indigenous worldviews, knowledges and practices using community-based approaches. Doing so is, however, challenging for both sides. Our panel session aims to contribute to enhancing the capacities and confidence of Western researchers, practitioners and public servants to genuinely work together with Indigenous communities in ways that synthesize Indigenous and Western worldviews, knowledges and practices. Drawing upon their extensive experiences of collaborating two-way, Indigenous and non-Indigenous representatives of our research team will offer insights into how they genuinely co-created, co-implemented and co-evaluated an Indigenist participatory action research that decolonised and Indigenised the collaboration. This project was led by the community-based research organisation Yalu Marŋgithinyaraw building upon strong, long-term, respectful relationships with researchers from the University of Canberra, Menzies School of Health and Charles Darwin University. We will also reveal the local Indigenous worldviews, knowledges and practices that strengthen Indigenous communities and reduce the risks of disasters, and the various colonising practices that weaken Indigenous communities and increase the risks of disasters.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventDeveloping Northern Australia - Darwin Conference Centre, Darwin , Australia
Duration: 16 Aug 202118 Aug 2021


ConferenceDeveloping Northern Australia


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