Documenting ancestral knowledge

Noongar Boodjar Language Centre – $90K funding received

This project links Noongar Wudjari (W8) ancestral ecological knowledge about plants, animals and places with western science knowledge to ensure this language and knowledge are preserved and can be used by Noongar and non-Noongar people in education and environmental management, now and in the future. It centres around intergenerational knowledge transfer and will be delivered via: training young people in language, ancestral and cultural data collection; fieldwork; community consultations; data management and presentation; plant and animal identification and cultural mapping. 

The high-level outcomes include Noongar Wudjari ancestral ecological knowledge:

  1. Collecting, documenting knowledge and methods for data management and inclusion in language and biodiversity databases, including linking to western science and for the creation of resources and publications
  2. Archiving for safe keeping under Special Collections at WA State Library.
  3. Publishing through Noongar Boodjar Language Centre and online through the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) – Australia’s national online biodiversity database. This includes print and online encyclopaedia.

The people involved include: Noongar Wudjari language informants/consultants (Gail Yorkshire & Lynette Knapp); Noongar Boodjar Senior Linguist Denise Smith-Ali; ALA scientist; ethno-biologists/zoologists to link ancestral ecological knowledge for plants and animals to western science; trainees to learn methods to document, save and share language and ancestral knowledge about plants and animals and how to link this to western science.

There will be three community consultation workshops. Firstly, to introduce project and project team and seek consent for project, data collection and sharing methods. Secondly, present data collected during first field trip for discussion on knowledge gaps and data sharing methods. Finally, team presentation of collected data and project reflection report, and secure consent for which data can be released for publication.

There will be two week-long field trips to Noongar Wudjari country (Fitzgerald National Park) in spring and autumn to include Noongar seasonal calendar variations.

The first of these field trips has been completed.

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