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Featured grant projects

Following the Trade Routes

Following the Trade Routes will re-discover and revitalise the cultural networks, knowledge and authority of the once flourishing Indigenous Trade Routes. Revitalisation of this important information will allow the community to celebrate the significant objects exchanged from the western Kimberley through central Australia and into the Flinders Ranges.

The project aims to create new understanding of cultural economies and trade routes that shaped Aboriginal societies across Australia, and to explore how such knowledge informs society today.

It will bring together different trading partners from across the Kimberley, desert and into South Australia. Not only looking at the trade of Pearl Shell, but many other goods as well, we will explore what happened historically and what kinds of trade can happen today and into the future.

Researchers will travel between communities recording local stories and new practices (filming where possible, and recording audio), and over time connect these up with the stories of trading partners around the regions.

Through this network of Indigenous researchers and cultural custodians, in partnership with other scholars, we will create new connections between living and archival knowledge of Indigenous trade in the Kimberley and Desert Regions.

The project will support the revitalisation of Indigenous cultural exchange and trade practices; it will strengthen Indigenous exchange networks and cultural authority; and it will promote greater awareness of this part of Australia’s history, economy and society.

'For Aboriginal people, trade wasn’t just associated with physical objects but included songs, dances and art, stories, rituals and ceremonies. These connected the people to the land and sky and animals.

'Through this network of Indigenous researchers and cultural custodians, in partnership with other scholars, we will create new connections between living and archival knowledge of Indigenous trade in the Kimberley and Desert Regions.' — Wayne Barker, KALACC

Environmental Stewardship Resurgence in Walbanga

The Environmental Stewardship Resurgence in Walbanga (Yuin Nation) Land and Sea Country project is a collaborative action-research initiative led by Mogo Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC). The initiative aims at developing a toolkit for Mogo and Batemans Bay LALC rangers to strengthen their capacity to influence environmental management decisions across their Country.

Mogo Local Aboriginal Land Council will provide opportunities for rangers to inform hazard mitigation and disaster management strategies. Mogo and Batemans Bay Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALC) will develop a toolkit for rangers to strengthen their capacity to influence environmental management decisions across Country.

This project weaves together aspirations to genuinely increase Walbanga’s participation in the governance of their territories and support their everyday resurgence through environmental stewardship practices articulating work on Country and Walbanga's philosophies.

Mogo Local Aboriginal Land Council - Environmental Stewardship

Mogo Local Aboriginal Land Council Senior Ranger, Adam McCarron, experimenting with Cybertracker on Broulee Island.  Photo Annick Thomassin

The project builds on the grassroots Seachange pilot initiative (2015-2019): an action-research partnership between the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) and Mogo and Batemans Bay LALCs. The Seachange pilot aimed at providing the Walbanga with leverage in future negotiations with the National Parks, the Eurobodalla Shire, Batemans Marine Park and other entities. It focused on co-developing training material and upskilling the rangers to co-design and conduct a survey documenting the cultural significance and biodiversity of their coastal environment.

This project will provide opportunities for the rangers to enhance their surveying, analytic and reporting capacities, further expanding their toolkit to document, restore, reclaim and enact their stewardship practices.

Together, the rangers and researchers will adapt and streamline the Cybertracker sequences developed during Seachange, use these sequences to conduct surveys on Country and interview key community members. 

New sequences will also be created, responding to the rangers’ pre-bushfire aspirations to document the revival of their cultural burning practices. The surveys and reports will incorporate considerations for disaster mitigation and management strategies and include tools to survey culturally significant species (bush-food, bush-medicine, art material). The rangers will also increase their analytic and reporting skills by learning to use ARCGIS-StoryMaps to present the stories emerging from their work.