Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Yorta Yorta to welcome expert team

YYNAC aims to combine western science with indigenous knowledge in a unique cultural mapping exercise.

KATHLEEN TONINI April 13, 2012 9:30am

Representatives from Brown University in America will travel to the region next month to take part in an ambitious and unique cultural mapping project in Yorta Yorta country.

Yorta Yorta Nations Aboriginal Corporation’s Living Murray facilitator Lee Joachim said representatives would be in the region for two weeks to undertake ‘‘talking journeys’’ with elders and youth.

The youth would be taught interview skills to enable elders’ stories to be recorded, Mr Joachim said.

As well as interview recordings, areas of significance will be documented and photographed.

This will form one part of a larger project which aims to combine indigenous cultural knowledge and stories with modern technology.

Led by YYNAC, the team involved in the project includes representatives from Monash University, La Trobe University, the World Bank and Brown University.

‘‘What we’re doing is developing an Aboriginal geographical information system,’’ Mr Joachim said.

‘‘They’re interested in supporting our endeavors as well as how it could apply internationally.’’

The project is looking at climate in the region and how cultural activities and and science can help mitigate possible future affects of climate change.

‘‘(It’s about combining) Western science and indigenous knowledge to provide a better outcome for country.’’

The project has been running for about 18 months, and Mr Joachim said it would continue for another 18 months.

Sources of information include elders’ stories, universities, government departments and climate data.

A conference looking at climate change adaptation is set to be held in Echuca-Moama in November as part of the project, which will host representatives from universities and the World Bank.

Mr Joachim will also travel to America to liaise with the Brown Foundation and other foundations for more funding for the project.

He said the corporation was also looking at establishing a research centre on country.

There will be a community information session about the project and other research projects the corporation is involved with on April 27 at the University of Melbourne’s School of Rural Health in Shepparton between 10am and 4pm.

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