Indigenous Science Network Bulletin
February 2005
(Volume 8, Number 1)
ISSN  1449-2091

Editor: Michael Michie

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






Happy New Year to everybody! 

I'm looking forward to keeping the Indigenous Science Network Bulletin going for another, eighth year. It will be pretty much the same format as in previous years, coming out 6 times a year at the beginning of February, April, June, August, October and December.

As always, I'm looking for news, views, resources, and information about events and conferences. Anything to do with indigenous science and indigenous science education. I look particularly for things which can be accessed using links to the World Wide Web.

Access to the Bulletin is free and you could say that membership of the Indigenous Science Network is probably the cheapest professional association you belong to.

Please consider contributing something this year.

Michael Michie

[Publication dates are 1 February, 1 April, 1 June, 1 August, 1 October and 1 December. Please submit material at least two days beforehand, to allow for international time differences.]

United Nations proclaims Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People

On 20 December 2004, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People. The Decade will commence on 1 January 2005.

The second Decade comes after the end, on 10 December 2004, of the first International Decade of the World's Indigenous People.

 In proclaiming the Second Decade, the General Assembly noted the following:

- The achievements of the first Decade, including the establishment of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and the contributions made by the Permanent Forum, the Working Group on Indigenous Populations and the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous people;
- The deep concern expressed by the Commission on Human Rights about the precarious economic and social situation that Indigenous people continue to endure in many parts of the world in comparison to the overall population and the persistence of grave violations of their human rights, and the urgent need to recognize, promote and protect more effectively their rights and freedoms;
- Progress made in the recent rounds of negotiations of the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People; and
- The importance of consultation and cooperation with Indigenous people in planning and implementing the programme of activities for the Decade, and the need for adequate financial support from the international community. 

The goal of the Second Decade is the further strengthening of international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by Indigenous people in such areas as culture, education, health, human rights, the environment and social and economic development, by means of action-oriented programmes and specific projects, increased technical assistance and relevant standard-setting activities.

In fulfilling the goal of the Second Decade the General Assembly:

- Appointed the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs based in New York as the Coordinator for the Second Decade;
- Invites governments to ensure that activities and objectives for the Second Decade are planned and implemented on the basis of full consultation and collaboration with Indigenous people , including an exploration of the ways in which Indigenous perspectives and activities can be included or enhanced;
- Appeals to relevant organizations of the United Nations system to increase their efforts to take into special account the needs of Indigenous people in their budgeting and in their programming;
- Requests the Secretary-General to establish a voluntary fund for the Second Decade as a successor of the First Decade's Voluntary Fund and urges governments, non-government, inter-governmental organisations and individuals to contribute to this fund;
- Calls for the continued observance of the International Day of Indigenous People (on 9 August each year);
- Urges all parties involved in the process of negotiation to do their utmost to successfully accomplish the mandate of the open-ended intersessional working group and to present for adoption as soon as possible a final draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and
- Requests the Secretary-General to give all the assistance necessary to ensure the success of the Second Decade, as well as submit a report to the General Assembly at its sixtieth session on a comprehensive programme of action for the Second Decade based on the achievements of the first Decade.

The First International Decade of the World's Indigenous People - A summary

The first Decade ran from 10 December 1994 to 9 December 2004.  The theme for the first Decade was 'Indigenous people: partnership in action'.  In announcing the first Decade, the General Assembly set the following five objectives for the Decade:

1) International cooperation;
2) Education;
3) Recognition and protection of indigenous rights;
4) Implementing recommendations on indigenous peoples; and
5) Adoption of international standards on indigenous rights, including the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The first Decade was coordinated by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. The Decade saw the following achievements:

- Creation of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;
- Appointment of a Special Rapporteur for Indigenous issues;
- Creation of a voluntary fund to assist Indigenous participation in UN fora; and
- Development of an Indigenous Fellowship program.

For further information regarding the first Decade please refer to Chapter 6 of the Social Justice Report 2002 which can be downloaded from Information can also be obtained from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at

News from the ABC's Message Stick

A new walkway built by the National Parks and Wildlife Service has saved an ancient Aboriginal midden at Sydney's Reef Beach from destruction.


Culture Studies in Science Education

Masakata Ogawa has launched the Culture Studies in Science Eduucation Research Network. You can visit the tentative web page of

Indigenous knowledge and resource management in Northern Australia

The School of Australian Indigenous Knowledge Systems at Charles Darwin University (Darwin, Australia) have  launched their new web site for a research project on "Indigenous knowledge and resource management in Northern Australia". You are invited to visit the web site at

Science Edge 3: Australian Indigenous science

About two years ago I approached network members for some assistance with writing a chapter for a school science textbook on Australian Indigenous science. As a result I received some good feedback and now, finally, the book has been published. It is also the first chapter in the Year 9 text. The text is called Science Edge 3, and it's being promoted as a new style of text. All of the chapters are written by experts, there's a CD-ROM to go with it and there are also teacher resource books as well.

I am approaching the publishers for permission to distribute copies of the chapter electronically (it's in pdf format on the disk). One problem is that the file is 10Mb, which can be a very slow download via a modem. Please let me know if you would like a copy and I will arrange to send it as an attachment by e-mail later this month. I won't be putting it onto the website and I'd rather not be uploading it a number of times.

Sharwood, J., & Kuhn, M. (Eds) (2005). Science Edge 3. Melbourne: Nelson Australia. (

Sharing our pathways

This is the newsletter of the Alaskan Native Knowledge Network, based at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. They have produced five newsletters annually for the past nine years. The latest one, from November last year, contains articles on cultural and intellectual property rights and incorporating indigenous elders in the classroom. You can access Sharing our pathways at, and it's available in html or pdf formats.

ABC Resources

NEVER STAY IN ONE PLACE Kakadu, the traditional home of big Bill Neiijie and his Gagadju people, lies in the tropical North of Australia - 6,000 square kilometres of national park, bordered by rich uranium mines. This program follows Big Bill through the breathtaking splendour of Kakadu as he gives a unique insight into the relationship Australia's original inhabitants have with the land, their careful husbandry of it and their understanding of the signs of nature, as reflected in their art and lifestyle.

BABAKIEURIA In 1988 Australia celebrated the 200th Anniversary of white European settlement in Australia. Bob Maza, Mitch Torres and more… 1986 30mins (the literal translation of the title is "barbecue area". MM)


National Association for Research in Science Teaching

The draft Dallas program for April 2005 is now posted to the NARST Website. You can access it at:

Race, Culture, Indigeneity and the Politics of Public Health
A Short Course presented by Menzies School of Health Research, April 6-8 2005

Are you interested in the political context of Indigenous health?
Are you ever confused or frustrated by the complexity of Indigenous health problems?
Would you benefit from a range of theoretical tools that would help you negotiate complex issues?

While the historical, social and political context of Indigenous health poses particular challenges for public health practitioners, few have access to the body of scholarship that addresses issues of cultural diversity, power relations, and identity politics. This workshop aims to use interactive exercises, case studies and small group work to:

  • introduce key concepts from anthropology, social psychology, sociology and critical Indigenous studies to assist public health practitioners;
  • illustrate theories and debates using local public health texts, including journal articles, videos, newspaper articles, web resources and policy documents;
  • enhance the ability of public health practitioners to critically analyse texts and apply social science theory to practical public health problems.

This  course  has  been designed as a professional development activity for people  working  or  studying  in Indigenous health in research, policy, or service delivery.

Date: Wednesday 6 April to Friday 8 April 2004
Venue: Seminar Room, Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin
Cost:  Total cost $600 including morning tea and lunch
Mr Yin Paradies, NHMRC PhD scholar (social epidemiology), University of Melbourne and MSHR. BSc NTU, MMedStats Newcastle, MPH UC Berkeley.
Dr Emma Kowal, NHRMC PhD scholar (public health anthropology), University of Melbourne and MSHR. MBBS Melb, BA(Hons-medical anthropology) Melb, Grad Cert ATSI Studies NTU.
Registration by: March 4th 2005
Details and  Registration: Catherine Richardson, Ph: 08 8922 7873, E-mail:

Linga Longa Aboriginal Philosophy Week 2005
11 - 16 April, "Sustaining Ourselves Through Indigenous Philosophy"

Philosophy Week gives you the opportunity to spend five days and nights 'Koori time', camping under the stars in the tranquil Rollands Plains.
The week includes presentations from Indigenous Philosophers and Teachers and allows lots of time for sitting around a campfire and sharing your views on culture, spirituality and healing.
Indigenous and non indigenous people of all ages, (including children) gather each year in this relaxing and friendly environment to learn, laugh and grow with the oldest living culture in the world.
Linga Longa is situated at Rollands Plains, approximately 40 minutes north west of Port Macquarie on the Mid North Coast of NSW. We provides non-powered camping facilities including showers and toilets. The registration fee includes all meals and drinks. Please note that Philosophy Week is a Drug and Alcohol free event.
"Sustaining the self has been the key to sustaining the oldest living culture on the planet"

For further information contact: Jack Beetson (02) 6585 8282, Email:

International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Group

The 8th conference of the International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Group will be held from Friday, July 15 to Monday July 18, 2005 at the University of Leeds in the UK.  This conference is also being held conjointly with the annual conference of the British Society for the History of Science at the same venue. If you are interested in coming the deadline for proposals is Jan 31, 2005.

Full details of the conference and how to submit proposals are available on the web site,

[The organizing committee has 10 Bursaries of up to £750 each ($1350) to cover the costs of individuals who wish to attend from countries in the developing world who do not have access to such funds. This includes all Eastern European countries, South America, China, India, Pakistan and Africa.  Applicants are expected to be undertaking research in the area of history, philosophy and sociology of science and its engagement with science education. If you would like to apply for one of these bursaries, please submit an abstract together with a letter requesting financial support under the bursary scheme indicating how your paper will contribute to the conference theme's advancement (Teaching and communicating science: What the history, philosophy and sociology of science can contribute).]


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

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 (

6-8 April: Race, Culture, Indigeneity and the Politics of Public Health. A Short Course presented by Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin. Details and  Registration: Catherine Richardson, Ph: 08 8922 7873, E-mail:

11 - 16 April: Linga Longa Aboriginal Philosophy Week 2005,"Sustaining Ourselves Through Indigenous Philosophy". For further information contact: Jack Beetson (02) 6585 8282, Email:

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

May 2005

30 May - 1 June: Redesigning Pedagogy: Research, Policy, Practice, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

July 2005

4-7 July: CONASTA 54 - Australian Science Teachers Association, Melbourne, Vic. 'Science Education Unplugged'. Visit

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

15-18 July:  International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Group, the University of Leeds, UK.

August 2005

9 August: International Day of the World's Indigenous People

13- 21 August: Australian National Science Week 2005. School theme - Energy: Future Challenges

November 2005 

27 November - 1 December: World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education, Aotearoa New Zealand

April 2006

8-12 April: National Association for Research in Science Teaching annual meeting, San Francisco, (

8-12 April: American Educational Research Association Conference, San Francisco, (

July 2007

Combined ICASE, CONASTA and perhaps ASERA conference in Perth

Last updated: 1 February 2005