Indigenous research grant

TABLELANDS INDIGENOUS GROUPS WORKING WITH RESEARCHERS

24 FEBRUARY 2021

The first indigenous research grant has been awarded through a new Wet Tropics partnership, formed to improve land and water management in the Far North.

Skyrail Rainforest Foundation, Terrain NRM’s Natural Capital Fund, the Wet Tropics Management Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service have joined forces to create the Wet Tropics Cooperative Research Partnership.

The partnership has awarded a $40,000 grant to CQ University for researchers to work with traditional owners and others in the Atherton Tablelands region.

CQ University Professor of Tourism Bruce Prideaux said the team would establish protocols for a traditional knowledge and science supply database.

“We will be working closely with traditional owners from several groups and with others in the Tablelands community from local government to other land managers, industry and groups like historical societies,’’ he said.

“In this project we’ll be doing the groundwork, learning more about Country and cultural data needs and designing a framework including intellectual property agreements and cultural protocol templates.

“The aim is to combine traditional knowledge and science with western knowledge and science for improved land and sea water management outcomes.”

CQ University’s Joann Schmider, who is a Mamu traditional custodian from the southern Tablelands, said there was a passion to integrate traditional knowledge and practices into management of the Wet Tropics region.

“We sincerely thank each of the funding partners and each of the research partners, and look forward to the exemplary outcomes that these kinds of joint venture approaches can achieve,’’ she said.

Prof. Prideaux said traditional knowledge databases were used on a smaller scale in other areas including the southern and northern parts of the Wet Tropics region.

“There is a gap in bringing a traditional custodial voice to systematic Wet Tropics practices,’’ he said.

“Aboriginal eco-system and land management knowledge is important to future land and sea management practices. This kind of database could be used for a range of purposes from activities like fire management and weed control to grant-writing and reporting, development assessments and commercial opportunities for indigenous groups.”

Rainforest Aboriginal team member John Locke said views gathered about Aboriginal science and knowledge would shape a guiding methodology and a practice framework.

“This includes views about substantive customary rights and responsibilities and the spatially-located customary landscape scales they are anchored in,’’ he said. “It includes cultural protocol and intellectual property agreement templates for multiple parties who would be collaborating to populate, manage and use a locality-related database knowledge management tool.’’

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