Engaging with Australian Indigenous Knowledge System: Charles Drwin University and the Yolnu of Northeast Arnhemland Michael Christie

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    Abstract

    The Yolŋu Studies stream of tertiary teaching and academic research has a long history within the School of Australian Indigenous Knowledge systems at Charles Darwin University. This case study tells the story of the gradual unfolding of the engagement between the university and Yolŋu (northeast Arnhemland Aboriginal) knowledge authorities and their practices. It begins with the long negotiations to set up the teaching program under the authority of senior Yolŋu advisers, to set up a curriculum and classroom practice which remains faithful to Yolŋu laws around knowledge exchange and representation. Alongside the Yolŋu laws, was a particular epistemology which we worked hard to validate and support within the academic classroom. The institutionalisation of Yolŋu knowledge practices in the academy allowed the academics and the Yolŋu advisers to develop collaboratively a transdisciplinary research methodology which attends to the requirements of both Yolŋu and academic knowledge traditions. The paper gives examples of successful research collaborations, and examines some of the philosophical work which needed to be done for successful respectful engagement.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)23-35
    Number of pages13
    JournalLearning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social contexts
    Issue numberDecember
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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