Indigenous Science Network

December 1999


Australian Indigenous Education Conference
"Living better together"
4-7 April 2000, Fremantle WA

Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA), Fremantle, WA, July 2000

Conference of the Australian Science Teachers Association (CONASTA), Perth WA, July 2000

For those foreigners, Fremantle is the port of Perth, located at the mouth of the Swan River just west of the city.

One last conference for 1999/the century/the millenium/before the Y2K bug destroys everything:

Fifth UNESCO-ACEID International Conference, "Reforming learning, curriculum and pedagogy: Innovative visions for the new century", Bangkok, Thailand, 13-16 December 1999. Michael Michie is attending and is presenting a paper entitled "Where are Indigenous peoples and their knowledge in the reform of learning, curriculum and pedagogy?" A copy of the paper will be put up on the website soon.

Is anybody else from the Network attending this or other conferences, or know of any other conferences coming up? (There's one being organised by Curtin University, to be held in Taiwan in January, but I don't have the details any more. Perhaps Bill Palmer has the details?)


Hodson, D. 1999. Going beyong cultural pluralism: Science education for sociopolitical action. Science Education, 83, 775-796.

Hodson, D, & Hodson, J. 1998. Science education as enculturation: Some implications for practice. School Science Review, 80(290), 17-24.

Lubben, F, Netshisaulu, T, & Campbell, B. 1999. Studentsą use of cultural metaphors and their scientific understandings relating to heating. Science Education. 83, 761-774.

Luft, J A, Bragg, J, & Peters, C. 1999. Learning to teach in a diverse setting: A case study of a multicultural science education enthusiast. Science Education, 83, 527-543.


In response to me asking for websites, Mark Linkson provided a list that he's put into the "Intercultural Handbook".

Following are some sites available at the time of printing (Dec, 99): (the Australian Science Teachers Association) (the ABC's science homepage) (all about how stuff works) (Disney does science) (National Aeronautical and Space Administration kids page) (National Geographic) (Windows to the Universe - earth and space sciences with three levels available; beginner, intermediate, advanced) (fun science activities for kids) (sites useful for enhancing curriculum and teacher professional growth) (Science Learning Network)

Indigenous knowledge on the internet (explore science through Australian Indigenous knowledge) (the Centre for Appropriate Technology in Alice Springs, assisting Indigenous communities with suitable technology) (Balkanu assists Cape York (QLD) Aboriginal communities work towards self reliance) (Dhimurru addresses natural and cultural management priorities for Yolngu land-owners in Northeast Arnhem Land) (culture and education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples) (academic papers on Africa's indigenous knowledge systems) (The Alaskan Native Knowledge Network) (then click on Cultural Connections in the menu bar for science from many cultures, available in three levels; beginner, intermediate, advanced ) (National Museum of the American Indian) (resources for Indigenous cultures around the world)

Some others I've come across recently

The Australians on the network will be aware of Yothu Yindi, which are probably the Northern Territory's best known export. It is a Indigenous band from the Yirrkala area and is made up mainly of Yolgnu people from there. The lead singer is Mandawuy Yunupingu, who is a brother of Gularrwuy Yunipingu from the Northern Land Council. Both of them are important Yolgnu men and they have both been Australians of the year.

Thy have been supporting cultural research in the Yirrkala area for some time and have set up the Yothu Yindi Foundation. Recently they had visitors from the Australian Vice-Chancellors Association looking at the posibility of links between the foundation and Australian universities.

The website for the Yothu Yindi Foundation, where you can download their latest newsletter, is at

and the Yothu Yindi website is at

Another organisation, this time Canadian, whose website I recently visited, was the KIVU Nature Inc. Their mission is "to bring people of all nations and origins to a greater understanding and appreciation of the natural world". They have also recently produced a Handbook of CIDA Project Planning and Indigenous Traditional Knowledge (CIDA is the Canadian International Development Agency). Their website is at

and the Handbook can be downloaded from

I am currently doing some research into Indigenous adult numeracy for Tom Evison and Robyn Hurley from the Batchelor Institute. I have had some difficulty finding any materials from overseas and would appreciate it somebody could give me a lead. The Institute has a client group consisting of Indigenous Australians who may be studying education, health and community studies, and natural resource management. The scope of the work is to:

Through a standard literature search on current thinking and practice relating to the teaching of numeracy to Indigenous adults, investigate and report on:
€ current issues related to the teaching of numeracy to adult Indigenous students.
€ institutions with an Indigenous client group and what they are doing in terms of developing studentsą numeracy.
€ innovative projects conducted with Indigenous students involving the development of numeracy
€ numeracy integrated science projects.

My preliminary work has indicated that that there is little in the literature relating to Indigenous peoples, so I am taking a wider perspective and considering adult numeracy and particularly for disadvantaged groups.

So far I have been able to identify a number of individuals, publications, papers, organisations and websites which relate to adult numeracy. I am hoping you may be able to contribute to this aspect of the study and I would like to be able to discuss the project further with you.

I would appreciate it if you could indicate to me some time in the next week when I can contact you by phone. Other materials which can be e-mailed or posted to me would also be appreciated.

Best wishes for the festive season and the new year (and century and millenium)

Michael Michie

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