Indigenous Science Network Bulletin

December 2001 (Volume 4, Number 6)

Editor: Michael Michie

Without realising it, I recently got infected with a virus (one of those ones that spits out e-mails from your address book). I realise that I may have passed it on, probably globally. I apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused and I will not be e-mailing anybody until I know that the problem has been fixed. Unfortunately it coincided with me installing Windows XP and I currently don't have adequate (any?) virus protection.



Postcolonialism and Education Conference.

Held at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 17-19 August 2001: Liz McKinley, University of Waikato, Aotearoa/New Zealand

While the term 'postcolonialism' as a term has been criticised in the literature by many writers, it has widespread use and meaning if the range of papers at this recent conference was anything to go by. There were definitely two strong strands evident in the work presented which basically follows the two uses found in the literature. A number of presenters took a critical theory anti-colonialist stance which mainly relates to the use of postcolonial as meaning after the time of colonialism (not to be confused with imperialism) and oppressed groups. The other papers use postcolonial theory in the tradition of poststructural and psychoanalytic writers that use postcolonial to mean a 'state of being' (like Lyotard's postmodern condition). This divergence creates some tension in the field but is not necessarily a problem at the level of academic study.

About 250 people attended the conference over the 3 days. The conference was opened by a panel speaking on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in Education paying respect to the aboriginal peoples of Australia as first settlers. In some respects, this panel represented some of the unease and tension the conference proceeded with over the 3 days. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities were not evident in any significant numbers at the conference - there were more Maori! English literary Professor Helen Tiffin (a co-editor of The Postcolonial Studies Reader) and Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith (author of Decolonising methodologies) both gave keynote addresses.

There were four 'science education' papers given. They covered a wide range of topics including environmental issues in Australia and Canada to looking at Maori women in science. The science papers were few in comparison to other areas, such as literacy education. This is more a reflection of where postcolonial theory is being used currently as well as the group that organised the conference. Overall, I thought the conference worthwhile and would like to see a bigger one in 2 or 3 years time that covers more curriculum and schooling areas. I thought it was a good springboard though.


Research in Culture Studies in Science Education: An International Workshop was held October 3, 2001, Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima, JAPAN. Reporter: Glen Aikenhead

This workshop was a pre-meeting to the October 4-6 conference on "Science Teacher Education Project Sensitive to Culture, Language and Gender" sponsored by the Japanese Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS), Grants-in-Aid (Scientific Research A), grant number 12308006, organized by Dr. Masakata Ogawa (

Our day-long workshop on October 3 delved into research issues brought forward by the following discussion leaders:

  • Liz McKinley (Waikato University, Aotearoa New Zealand, "Bodily Knowledge: Schooling Maori Women Scientists." A study of the interaction between (a) concrete identity markers of Maori women and (b) their experiences in schools and science education where student identities are often constructed by others.
  • Dawn Sutherland (University of Winnipeg, Canada, "Negotiating Worlds, Negotiating Science: Social and Conceptual Movements in Students of Cree Ancestry." An exploratory study into the cultural differences between school science and Aboriginal students' cultural identities, and the consequences of these differences in a classroom taught by an Aboriginal science teacher.
  • Pauline Chinn (University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA, "The Role of Cross-Cultural Immersion Learning in Developing Culturally Sensitive K-12 Science Teachers." A project dedicated to augmenting the culture brokering skills of teachers and student teachers through a field experience. The participants learned from (not "about") Aboriginal culture, by emphasizing worldviews and the Aboriginal language.
  • Olugbemiro Jegede (Open University of Hong Kong, China, "Researching Cultural Studies in Science Education: A Methodological Issue." A cross-cultural view of science education requires a deconstruction of Western science along with access to alternative views and methods of knowing nature. Postmodern epistemologies and methodologies may help (they are like a drop of colour dye, allowing us to see the water better). Should our research aim for a transformational role?
  • Glen Aikenhead (University of Saskatchewan, Canada, "Challenges to Border Crossings into School Science." Discussions about "science" require an explicit typography of meanings to capture the word's precise meaning in the ever shifting contexts of a speaker. Two published articles challenging border-crossings were analyzed.
  • Ken Kawasaki (Kochi University, Japan, "How to Conceptualize 'Culture'." Through the lense of structural linguistics, two facets of research in science education were synthesized: (a) an emphasis on pupils' individual learning, and (b) an emphasis on the cultural setting of learning. Both result in an epistemological reflection on pupils' own culture.


Martin looks to Federal Government to fund indigenous education

The Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Clare Martin, says she will be looking to the Federal Government for more money to implement the recommendations of the Collins report on indigenous education.

Ms Martin has announced the formation of a steering committee to implement the recommendations of the report, which was completed in 1999.

She says the committee will be co-chaired by former senator Bob Collins, the report's author, and an indigenous educator still to be announced.

Ms Martin says the state of the Territory's budget has created some problems but she remains committed to implementing all major recommendations to improve indigenous education.

"We will always be looking for money from the Federal Government and we currently have money that's coming through under the ISA [Intensive Support Amount] program, which is the best part of $50 million over four years," she said.

"We will be looking for any other money that's available."



Joint masters thesis a first for Australia

The Northern Territory University says a Walpiri elder and a close relative will graduate this week, after producing a joint masters thesis that brings together indigenous and non-indigenous knowledge.

Simon Fisher and Lisa Watts will be among the 250 students to graduate from the university on Friday.

The university says the thesis topic was a first for an Australian institution and includes a cosmology and history of an area of Walpiri land in central Australia.


A follow-up report on this topic was published in the Weekend Australian of 13-14 October 2001 and there has been a write-up in the Northern Territory University's newsletter, Intuition (


Desert Knowledge Precinct to offer job opportunities

The Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT) says there will be many educational and job opportunities for Aborigines when the Desert Knowledge Precinct is established in Alice Springs.

It has welcomed the Federal Labor Party's commitment of $11 million for the project as part of its Knowledge Nation strategy, if it is elected.

The Territory Government has announced $750,000 for staff to help the project's development during the next three years and says its $10 million capital commitment will begin in 2003.

The centre's Bruce Walker says there will be many shared opportunities in bringing together services and expertise in desert technologies.

"It also provides a link to markets outside of Australia for some of the ideas and the services that we'll generate," he said.

"The main reason that CAT and a number of Aboriginal organisations are involved in this project is they see it as a way of reaching out beyond their traditional means of support, beyond their traditional welfare means of support."



Djarragun College

Djarragun College near Cairns, North Queensland, recently featured on the ABC Television program, "Message Stick", on Sunday 25 November 2001.

Djarragun College near Cairns is made up of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Papuan New Guinean students. As a result, the school's management has recognised the need to involve indigenous cultures in their new curriculum.

The College has also taken the time to develop its own way to help students who have behavioural problems and the improvements are already beginning to show.


Tuhoe Exhibition Opens At Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Wellington (

Tühoe moumou kai – We give you our stories

Tühoe moumou taonga – We give you our treasures

Tühoe moumou tangata ki te Pö – We give you our lives

Tühoe – Children of the Mist, which opened at Te Papa on Saturday 24 November, is a compelling exhibition telling the stories of the Tühoe iwi (tribe), from the Urewera ranges. It is the latest in an ongoing series of iwi exhibitions that will eventually tell the stories of all of the iwi of Aotearoa New Zealand. After fifteen months in development, Tühoe – Children of the Mist was officially opened at a dramatic dawn ceremony at Te Papa (commencing at 5 5am) when up to a thousand several hundred Tühoe representatives, who had travelled from the Urewera ranges and from elsewhere in New Zealand Aotearoa, were welcomed onto Te Papa's marae.

Tühoe – Children of the Mist is a collaboration between Te Papa and the Tühoe people, and it replaces the previous iwi exhibition, Te Aupouri – people of smoke and flame. A feature of Te Papa's iwi exhibition is the presence of kaumätua (elders) during the time the exhibition is open. A Tühoe koroua (male elder) and kuia (female elder) will be involved in the exhibition as well as in ceremonial duties on Te Papa's marae. Tühoe – Children of the Mist features the whakapapa (genealogy) of the iwi. Their principal ancestor, Tühoe, a descendant of Toroa, arrived on these shores aboard the Mätaatua canoe many hundreds of years ago.

Crucial historical events are also explored, for example the Battle of Öräkau between Mäori and the Crown, where many Tühoe male warriors, as well as Tühoe fighting women, were killed. The exhibition also looks at one of the major contemporary events in the Tühoe calendar – the Hui Ahurei, or festival, which is held every two years in the Tühoe rohe (tribal area). This festival attracts Tühoe from around the country, galvanising the iwi in sporting encounters, kapa haka (dance and song) competitions, debating and oratory, and many other activities.

Tühoe – Children of the Mist is filled with beautiful and powerful objects – weapons, cloaks, carvings, and other significant taonga (treasures), along with striking images of the mist-filled valleys and forests in and around the Urewera Ranges. The Urewera forest is sacred to Tühoe, and the exhibition looks at how it has been utilised as an important source of food and medicine for the people. (Report from, 2 December 2001)



Bush mechanics

Here's an interesting website, about how Indigenous people make use of western technologies. It's also been a series on ABC TV here in Australia and it's on the web at


References from Plant Talk

Tavana, G. (2001). The passing of plants, peoples and cultures. Plant Talk, 24, 6. A short article by a Samoan botanist talking about loss of traditional knowledge and the problems for young people who receive a western education but no longer fit into traditional village life.

Cunningham, A.B. (2001). People and plants: Plant conservation through ethnobotanical training. Plant Talk, 24, 35-38. More a look at using traditional ecological knowledge. (People and Plants: Plant Conservation Through Ethnobotanical Traning, by Tony Cunningham. A consortium of WWF, Unesco and Kew is working with local people in a range of tropical countries at the people-conservation interface. In the Himalayas, on Mt Kinabalu, in tropical Africa and elsewhere, local people are being trained in ethnobotany so they can document uses of wild plants and ensure these uses are sustainable. Website)

Cox, P.A. (2001). Indigenous peoples and conservation. Plant Talk, 25, 3. “In my own fieldwork, I find that indigenous peoples almost universally believe that this planet, and the plants and animals upon it, are sacred, worthy of respect and preservation. Plant conservation worldwide could be significantly advanced if such enlightened indigenous views could be incorporated into the conservation dialogue. Let’s see if each of us, in our own way, can make a place for indigenous people at the conservation table.” Website)

Plant Talk has a website ( but the complete articles are not posted there.


Sharing our Pathways

The latest edition of Sharing our Pathways, the newsletter of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative, is now available on their website, at The lead article is "Documenting Indigenous knowledge and languages: Research planning and protocol" by Beth Leonard, and there is an article on "Culturally-responsive guidelines for Alaskan public libraries". The newsletter can be downloaded in html or pdf formats.


New Zealand Association for Environmental Education Conference, 17-19 January 2002, University of Waikato, Hamilton NZ. "A Place for You: Linking People, Policy & Practice" (

I have the latest programme and registration details for the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education Conference, 17-19 January 2002, as a pdf file.If you would like a copy of the file, please contact me and I will email you directly.

Discounted registration fees are available for all registrations received by 15 December 2001.


CONASTA 51 Australian Science Teacher's Association (ASTA) National Conference, Hobart Tas, 6-11 July 2002: "Problem Solving and the Ethical Dilemma". For information visit


AUSTRALASIAN SCIENCE EDUCATION RESEARCH ASSOCIATION, 33rd Annual Conference, 11 - 14 July 2002, Townsville, Queensland

ASERA 2002 will be convened in Townsville, July 11-14. The conference website can be located at This site is partially activated with information re accommodation etc available immediately. Registration and Call for Paper details will be listed in January. Please check the site periodically for updates. I'll send a call for papers notice early in 2002. Hope to see you in Townsville next July.

Cheers, Dr Steve Ritchie


CULTURAL ASPECTS OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS, A section within the 6th World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics - SCI2002, July 14-18, 2002 ~ Orlando, Florida (USA)

Submission Deadline: December 15, 2001.

Submission Details: Extended abstracts/paper drafts (1000-5000 words).

Session Organizer: Fahri Yetim, Ph.D, Information Systems Dept., New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA,

Session Description:

Information and communication systems cross national borders, are used by people in different cultures and are applied in culturally different contexts. They integrate (or maybe just technically connect) people in new space-time combinations. Cultural differences in signs, meanings, actions, conventions, norms or values, etc., raise new research issues ranging from technical usability issues to methodological and ethical issues of the notion of culture in information systems. Moreover, the globalization provokes new challenges and additional issues for IS researchers.

This session is intended to reflect on the way information and communication systems have been used/applied in culturally different contexts (local and global). It also will explore new theoretical and practical perspectives in researching, designing, developing and applying information systems for cultural and intercultural usage. The session will encourage both theoretical and practical issues to be addressed from interdisciplinary perspectives.

In particular, the session will cover the following topics:

  • Theoretical approaches and methodological issues for the study of culture in information systems.
  • Empirical studies on the use of information systems by culturally different users, or on their application in different cultural contexts.
  • Cultural and linguistic aspects of human-computer interaction, e.g., user interface and multimedia information design for global interactive systems
  • Methods, models and tools for supporting intercultural computer-mediated communication and cooperation, e.g., supporting articulation, understanding, idea generation, discussion, decision making, etc.
  • Frameworks, models and developments related to culture for global interactive systems
  • Cognitive, social, political and legal factors, e.g. trust, ethical issues, language barriers, national or organizational policies, etc. which enable or constrain intercultural communication.

Important Notice:

- All submissions should be made electronically to Fahri Yetim at:

- Further information relating to the conference deadlines and paper formatting instructions can be found on the main conference Web site at:



Rethinking Science and Technology Education to Meet the Demands for Future Generations in a Changing World, 28 July - 2 August 2002, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil

Symposium Address/Queries: All queries about the symposium and contributions should be directed to:

Professor Nelio Bizzo, Faculdade de Educação, Universidade de São Paulo, 10th IOSTE Symposium, Av. da Universidade, 308, 05508-900 São Paulo, SP, Brasil. Phone: +55 11 3818 4927/4928, FAX: +55 11 3818 3149, + 55 11 3816 8168. e-mail:, homepage:


World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education - August 4 - 10, 2002

WIPCE 2002 will be hosted by the First Nations Adult and Higher Education Consortium (FNAHEC) at a beautiful site on Stoney Nation lands in the mountains just west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. First Nations Adult and Higher Education Consortium, Suite 310, 6940 Fisher Rd. SE, Calgary, AB T2H 0W3. Phone: (403) 258-1775, Fax: (403)258-1811

For more information, visit their website at


'The Boston TEE Party'. DRAFT details of North American Association for Environmental Education's 2002 conference, Boston, 6-11 August 2002

The Boston TEE Party is a celebration of 'Total Environmental Education'! This is the rich, multi-faceted, lifelong environmental education that encourages,welcomes and encompasses a diversity of concepts, mediums, formats, methodologies and approaches. The "The Boston Tee Party" will follow four strands, each in some way reflective of Boston's pivotal place in US (and world) history. Each strand will feature workshops,concurrent sessions, poster sessions, interacts and a keynote speaker.

Further details: Julian Agyeman, Assistant Professor, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155. Telephone: + 1 617-627-3394, Fax: +1 617-627-3377. Email:,


Upcoming conferences

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

December 2001

2-6 December 2001: "Crossing Boundaries - New Frontiers for Educational Research" Australian Association for Research in Education, 2001 International Education Research Conference, Perth Western Australia  (

10-13 December 2001: "Using ICT for Quality Teaching, Learning and Effective Management": 7th Annual UNESCO-ACEID International Conference on Education. Bangkok, Thailand (

January 2002

3-6 January 2002: 15th International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement, Copenhagen, Denmark (

17-19 January 2001: "A Place for You: Linking People, Policy & Practice": New Zealand Association for Environmental Education Conference, Hamilton, New Zealand (

April 2002

1-5 April 2002: American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, USA ( - this site currently has a Chinese Ninja virus and does all manner of weird things)

7-10 April 2002: National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST 2002), New Orleans, USA (

July 2002

6-11 July 2002: CONASTA 51 Australian Science Teacher's Association (ASTA) National Conference, Hobart Tas: Problem Solving and the Ethical Dilemma. For information visit

11 - 14 July 2002: Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA), 33rd Annual Conference, Townsville, Queensland. Convenor: Dr Steve Ritchie,

14-18 July 2002: CULTURAL ASPECTS OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS, A section within the 6th World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics - SCI2002, Orlando, Florida (USA)

27 July - 2 August 2002: "Rethinking science and technology education to meet the demands for future generations in a changing world", IOSTE 10th Biennial Symposium,  Foz do Iguaca, Brazil (

August 2002

4-10 August 2002: World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education - Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 6-11 August: 'The Boston TEE Party'. DRAFT details of North American Association for Environmental Education's 2002 conference, Boston Email:,

A listing of conferences is also maintained by the University of South Australia's Indigenous Online Network, at From there you can also access proceedings from the first Forum on Indigenous Research (the Umulliko forum).

I wish you all the best in the coming season of cultural events and for the New Year on whichever calendar you might be using. The next bulletin should be sometime around Chinese New Year.


Last updated: 8 December 2001

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