Indigenous Science Network Bulletin

December 2000

Editor: Michael Michie

Teaching science and Indigenous students

The Alaska Science Consortium and the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative have recently published a new handbook entitled Culturally responsive science curriculum by Sidney Stephens. It can be downloaded as a pdf file from

The last issue of this bulletin included "Treating Aboriginal Knowledge with Respect", an excerpt from the Teacher Guide to Rekindling Traditions, produced by Glen Aikenhead for the Cross-Cultural Science and Technology Units (CCSTU). A copy of the whole document is available from

Mark Linkson and I produced a handbook for the Northern Territory Department of Education which unfortunately has not yet seen the light of day. The handbook is entitled Intercultural understandings in teaching science: A handbook for teachers. If you would like a copy, try writing to the NT Department of Education, GPO Box 4821, Darwin NT 0801, Australia.

Nancy Allen (University of Texas) has a paper entitled "Indigenous models for science-and-culture curriculum development' which she presented at the 1997 NARST meeting. It can be downloaded as a pdf file from

Two books that have been mentioned in the bulletins before and both written by indigenous practitioners are:

  • Gregory Cajete (1997). Igniting the sparkle: An Indigenous science education model. Skyand, NC: Kivaki Press.
  • Oscar Kawagley (1995). A Yupiaq worldview: A pathway to ecology and spirit. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.

Both of these books have been available through Amazon.

Please let me know if there are any other items you think should be added to this list. Ed.

Indigenous research in education

I visited Aotearoa/New Zealand last year for the ASERA conference and came back with a few books that look at research from an indigenous perspective. A third one, Culture counts, was published more recently and I reviewed it in the last bulletin. However, looking at their reference lists, they are only the peak of a larger effort to redefine research for indigenous peoples.

The publication details of the books are:

  • Bishop, Russell (1996). Collaborative research stories: Whakawhanangatanga. Palmerston North, NZ: Dunmore Press.
  • Smith, Linda Tuhiwai (1999). Decolonising methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. Dunedin: University of Otago Press/London and New York: Zed Books.
  • Bishop, Russell, & Glynn, Ted (1999). Culture counts: Changing power relations in education. Palmerston North, NZ: Dunmore Press.

The last two of these have been available through but Collaborative research stories may be out of print.

Darwin AMA Conference

The Northern Territory Branch of the Australian Medical Association held a conference in Darwin on 23-24 November 2000. Entitled "Learning Lessons: Approaching Indigenous health through education", it looks at the links between health and education for Indigenous people, both impacts of health on education and of education on health. The conference was building on the Learning lessons report on Indigenous education undertaken in the NT in 1999. (Learning lessons can be downloaded as a pdf file under Publications at

Many of the presenters indicated that there were difficulties in communication between westerners and Indigenous peoples. Fred McConnel and I presented a paper looking at the cultural studies in science education research and how it informs the compliance and communications debates. The paper, entitled 'Compliance' in health: Learning lessons from Indigenous science education, has been launched on my website at

I am unaware at present whether the proceedings of the conference are going to be published. I know all the keynote speeches were recorded, but the concurrent sessions and workshops were not and there didn't seem to be anybody trying to get papers together.

There were a couple of presentations which I attended that you may be able to find out more about. Two speakers who worked for the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health (CRCATH) referred to work they had done previously and are available from CRCATH's website as part of their Occasional Paper Series:

  • Boughton, B. (2000). What is the connection between Aboriginal education and Aboriginal health?
  • Tsey, K., & Every, A. (2000). Evaluation of an Aboriginal empowerment program.

The CRCATH's website is at

Upcoming conferences

Information Technologies in Educational Innovation for Development: Interfacing Global and Indigenous Knowledge. 6th UNESCO-ACEID International Conference on Education, 12-15 December 2000, Bangkok, Thailand.

The Future Is Here - a conference for Environmental Education. Australian Association for Environmental Education, the Marine Education Society of Australasia and the Victorian Association for Environmental Education. 15-19 January 2001, Melbourne, Australia.

50th Conference of the Australian Science Teachers Association (CONASTA 50). 8-13 July 2001, Sydney, Australia.

32nd Annual Conference of the Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA). 13-15 July 2001. Sydney, Australia.

NARST 2001: Annual Conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, 26-29 March 2001, St Louis MI, USA

49th National Convention of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), 22-25 March 2001, St Louis MI, USA

Seen recently on the Internet…

The latest edition of "Sharing our pathways", the newsletter of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative, features an item on the "Handbook for culturally responsive science curriculum"

Moonhawk's pages: Dan Moonhawk Alford's recent presentations and hard-to-find classic articles

Surfing the Net with Kids by Barbara J. Feldman listed a number of Native American sites

Waiting hopefully...

I keep going back to a couple of websites, hoping for renewed activity, but nothing seems to be happening.

The NARST website ( has been advertising that the 2000 conference papers will be available soon… for several months

The Winds of Change website hasn't changed from the Spring (northern hemisphere spring, that is) edition. (

Best wishes for the December and January cultural events (and the real beginning of the new millennium). Hoping to hear from you next year.

Michael Michie

Last updated: 1 December 2000

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