Indigenous Science Network Bulletin
August 2004
(Volume 7, Number 4)
ISSN  1449-2091

Editor: Michael Michie

Tiwi designs by Jennifer Coombs, Munupi Arts & Crafts Association, Pirlangimpi, Melville Island, NT







Encouraging Indigenous students into university science

We at the Koori Centre at the University of Sydney are conducting a short scoping study of 2 months only concerning  'Encouraging Indigenous students into university science' - as a prelude to a larger study later on. We are gathering basic statistical information, undertaking general informational interviews and reviewing key literature at this point. Is there any recent experimental or observational or curriculum material you could recommend to me that would have relevance to our study? I would also be very pleased to talk [email] with teachers of Indigenous students undertaking science subjects or with experienced teachers who have input as to why Indigenous students do not do science at senior secondary level or after.

I appreciate there is a considerable literature on science and Indigenous students world-wide. One of our aims is to develop university policy to facilitate increase of numbers of Indigenous students   undertaking science at university- and also postgraduate science.

Associate Professor Diana Day
Research Development
Koori Centre
University of Sydney
Tel 02-9036-9213


Conference in Papua New Guinea

Dr Soi Pauka of the PNG Curriculum Reform Implementation Program e-mailed me with this useful item.

I attended a 3 day (23 to 25 June 2004) conference organised by the Melanesian and Pacific Studies (MAPS), School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Papua New Guinea. It was on 'Reframing Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Research Methodologies and Indigenous Pedagogies'. Paper proceedings of this conference will be published soon. I presented a paper titled 'Secondary School Students' Science Beliefs in Papua New Guinea'. If you would like more information, contact Dr. Steven Winduo on email

I will follow up on this message and let you know when the proceedings are available. Ed.

News from the ABC's Message Stick

What is Gumbi Gumbi? [11/06/2004] It's no secret that the Australian bush offers a range of sources of food, sustenance and medicine. But on ABC radio, the plant everyone's talking about is the Gumbi Gumbi or Cumbi Cumbi plant.

Mangrove bark dulls the pain.  Queensland researchers are working to develop a new pain-killing drug from a native Australian plant traditionally used by Aboriginal people.

Modern doctors working with traditional healers [09/06/2004] Traditional indigenous healing practises will be used alongside modern medicine at a new health clinic at Balgo, south of Halls Creek.

National Indigenous body essential, committee hears (20:09:13AEST) A Senate select committee has heard that it is essential that a democratically-elected national body be set up to represent Indigenous people.

Cricketing boomerang comes back - with interest (12:46:53AEST) The National Museum of Australia has spent $11,000 on a boomerang which featured in the 1868 tour of England by an Aboriginal cricket team.

Culture Studies in Science Education (CSSE)

I had a message from Masakata Ogawa (Kobe University, Japan) that a new international research network, CSSE,  is to be launched shortly. The main aim of CSSE is to serve as a forum to encourage, support and facilitate research in science education from a cultural perspective. I'm sure we'll be hearing more about CSSE over the next few months.


Melbourne University School of Development Studies

The fifteenth of our Working Papers has recently been posted to the Melbourne University Private website and is available to download if you wish. The title of Working Paper 15 is 'The Common Agricultural Policy and its Effects on Developing Countries'.  The authors are Caroline Lemerle and Michael Webber.  The paper can be accessed by clicking on the following link: School of International Development - Working Paper 15

The Working Papers, which are published monthly in electronic and print format, are prepared by academics and practitioners.  The Working Paper Series aims to promote critical analysis of practice and the linkage of practice with theory by academics and practitioners.  The School of International Development is uniquely placed to link 'real-world' practice and theory, having both academic expertise and over 25 years experience in managing development assistance projects.  Its research activities aim to produce a tangible impact on development assistance practice and outcomes.

The Working Paper Series provides a communication vehicle for the research activities of academic staff and development practitioners associated with the School, as well as postgraduate students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate, Masters or PhD in International Development. Contributions are also welcome from academics and practitioners undertaking research elsewhere.  Papers will be published in English but are intended for an international readership.

New edition: Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin

Just to let you know that the July - September 2004 issue of the Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin is now 'in progress' and available online at We have made a slight change to the navigational structure of the site and the HealthBulletin is now accessed by clicking on 'Journal' in the yellow navigation bar on the left side of the home page.

 The purpose of the Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin is to facilitate access to information of relevance to Australian Indigenous health. Reflecting the wide range of our users - policy makers, service providers, researchers, students and the general community - the HealthBulletin attempts to keep people informed of current events of relevance, as well as information about recent research.

ABC book reviews

Djomi Dream Child Anita Heiss, (26/05/2004) Committed to social issues and working with young people to strengthen their cultural knowledge, author Chris Fry from Maningrida has joined forces with illustrator Delphine Sarago-Kendrick to produce his second children's book, Djomi Dream Child.

Aboriginality is more than a skin colour Message Stick News (16/06/2004) We've come a long way from the days when children were to be seen and not heard. Now Magabala Books has released "Tell Me Why", a feel-good children's picture book that encourages children to ask questions about their heritage and respect different cultures.

New Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) resources

DAWN and NEW DAWN, 1952-1975: The AIATSIS Library has digitised the Dawn and New Dawn magazines, which were published by the NSW Aborigines Welfare Board.  View the website at

NAIDOC POSTERS: View thirty years of NAIDOC posters in the AIATSIS Library online exhibition at

OUR TRACKS: a new place for reading, sharing and enjoying the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
An online exhibition from Aboriginal Studies Press.

Resources, from ABC Shops

Bush Mechanics - The Series DVD This popular off-beat series follows the exploits of a group of young Aboriginal men as they travel across the central desert in their clapped-out cars. In each episode the five Bush Mechanics from the remote Warlpiri community of Yuendumu are faced with a new set of challenges and a host of mechanical problems, which they solve with inventive bush repair techniques. Combining adventure, magic, realism and a distinctive brand of humour, Bush Mechanics provides an insight into both contemporary and traditional Aboriginal culture. Rated: PG Duration: Approx. 110 mins. 2003 PAL Format - Region 4 DVD, AU$30.95

Kimberley - Land of the Wandjina DVD This magnificent documentary, produced by the award-winning ABC TV Natural History Unit, explores the land and life of the spectacular Kimberley region of North West Australia. Aboriginal people believe that the Wandjina, the rain spirits, created the rugged and unforgiving landscape. $30.95

Both of these products have been available in VHS format for some time.

Dark Sparklers

This is an astronomy book with a difference. It's the astronomy of the skies as seen from the Wardaman country just west of Katherine in the Northern Territory of Australia. Bill Harney, a traditional owner, tells the stories of the Wardaman people, which are written down and interpreted by Hugh Cairns and illustrated both by Bill and Samantha Naughton Wortelhoch. A revised issue has just been released with some errors removed and new photos. I've seen it in some bookshops in Australian capital cities or I can give you a contact. Ed.

Defining an identity: The evolution of science education as a field of research

Peter Fensham's latest book was launched during the recent ASERA conference in Armidale. It is published by Kluwer. If you would like a copy of the flier, please e-mail me and I'll send it to you. Ed.

Sharing our pathways

Sharing our pathways, the newsletter of the Alaskan Native Knowledge Network, can be obtained from


National Association for Research in Science Teaching (

Annual Meetings:
2005: Dallas, 4-7 April
2006: San Francisco, 8-12 April
2007: New Orleans, 14-17 April

American Educational Research Association (

2005: Montreal, 11-15 April
2006: San Francisco, 8-12 April

Fourth International Forum on Education Reform

The Fourth International Forum on Education Reform: Learner-centered Approach: International Progress, Trends, and Practices will be held in Bangkok, from 6-10 September 2004.  The Forum is organized by Office of Education Commission, Thailand Ministry of Education.  The Hong Kong Institute of Education is one of the co-hosts.

Thai and international participation is estimated to be about 450 persons.  All presentations and discussions will be focused on Learner-centered Approach and will include the following topics:

  • Curriculum development
  • Pedagogy in formal, non- formal, informal learning
  • Innovative learning media
  • Educational evaluation and assessment
  • Learning and teaching education, training, and professional development
  • Local wisdom and learning process in the community
  • Public participation in learning process

All participants are invited to submit papers on the said themes that highly focus on the empirical evidences of Learner-centered Approach. Abstract (600 words) should be submitted to the Forum Secretariat by 1 August 2004.  Relevance to the theme of the Forum and freshness and originality of the approach are among the major considerations in the selection.

International Cooperation Relations Center for Education Reform
Office of the Education Council (OEC)
Tel. 0-2668-7123 Ext.1410 and 0-2243-4174
E-mail :  or

Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics Annual Conference
Power and Responsibility: Ethics in the 21st Century? Richmond, NSW, Australia, 29th September - 1st October, 2004

Call for Papers: Details regarding the Call for Papers can be found in this notice.
Conference Brochure: Further details regarding the conference, including registration costs, can be found in the brochure.
Registration Payment: Payment can be made through IPAY.

Select the AAPAE Conference option under the heading of School of Education and Early Childhood Studies

We are hoping to have a large Indigenous strand of papers.

Ms. Shirley Gilbert
School of Education and Early Childhood Studies
College of Arts, Education and Social Sciences
University of Western Sydney
Locked Bag 1797
Penrith South DC NSW 1797
Phone (02) 4736 0412
Fax (02) 4736 0400

3rd National Australian Indigenous Education Conference 16-18 November 2004
Conference Theme "Partnerships in Indigenous Education"

This important conference will be held from the 15th to 18th November at the University of Ballarat. The theme for the conference is "Partnerships in Indigenous Education". This will be a great opportunity for all to come together to share experiences and to strengthen the partnerships to make education work.  Are you interested in submitting an abstract for the Conference Program? Do you want to attend the Conference in November? If you are then log on to the Conference web site is

Here you can also register your details  this include flight times, dates and numbers. Any other enquiries can be forwarded on to myself on  the contact details below. Thank you and hope to hear from you soon.

Wanita Gibbs, Conference Assistant
Regional Events Australia
Conference Secretariat
to: 61 3 5332 3299
if: 61 3 5332 8799

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies: 2004 conference
Indigenous Studies: Sharing the Cultural and Theoretical Space
22-25 November 2004
Manning Clark House, Canberra

The aim of the conference is to encourage and provide for discussion of intercultural approaches to research and related matters. Potential sub-themes are:

1. Indigenous Studies: A shared space?
2. Culture and Communication
3. Research / epistemological negotiations
4. Regional / global representations
5. Indigenous Studies in Cyber-space
6. Renegotiating legal and political spaces
7. Performative spaces

For further information or to submit an outline for a proposed session please contact:
Dr Graeme Ward
GPO Box 553
Canberra 2601
Facsimile: +61 2 6249 7714
Email: <>

DreamCatching 2005
Workshops in Math and Science for Teachers of Aboriginal Students, 23- 26 February 2005

Theme: DreamCatching is a series of hands-on workshops in math and science. They are designed to provide teachers with concrete means of enhancing their teaching and integrating indigenous perspectives in the math and science classroom.

Location: Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec (Canada)
Contact: Native Access to Engineering Programme, Tel: (514) 848-2424, x. 7824, Email:


This is mostly a summary of upcoming conferences. More details may have been given above, in previous bulletins or circulated by e-mail. A web-based contact is usually included.

August 2004

6-9 August: GARMA 2004 - Indigenous Livelihoods and Leadership.

September 2004

6-10 September 2004: Fourth International Forum on Education Reform: Learner-centered Approach: International Progress, Trends, and Practices will be held in Bangkok. E-mail :  or

26-30 September: CONASTA 53 - Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) National Conference, Canberra ACT. Theme: Excellence in Teaching and Science

28 September - 2 October: Creating Ethical Communities Now: Footprints, Pathways, Possibilities. Adelaide, South Australia. Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) together with the Asia-Pacific Network for International Education and Values Education (APNIEVE), the South Australian Global Education Centre (GEC), and Urban Ecology Australia (UEA).

29 September - 1 October: Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics Annual Conference - Power and Responsibility: Ethics in the 21st Century? Richmond, NSW, AUSTRALIA, , 2004.

November 2004

16-18 November 2004: 3rd National Australian Indigenous Education Conference. Conference Theme "Partnerships in Indigenous Education", University of Ballarat, Vic.

22-25 November 2004: Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies: 2004 conference. Indigenous Studies: Sharing the Cultural and Theoretical Space. Manning Clark House, Canberra

February 2005

23-26 February: DreamCatching 2005: Workshops in Math and Science for Teachers of Aboriginal Students, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec (Canada) (

April 2005

4-7 April: National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Dallas (

11-15 April: American Educational Research Association, Montreal (

July 2005

6-9 July: Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA), 36th Annual Conference, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand (

July: CONASTA 54 - Australian Science Teachers Association, Melbourne, Vic.

Sometime 2005 - World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education, Aotearoa New Zealand

Last updated: 1 August 2004

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