October 2006
(Volume 9, Number 5)
ISSN  1449-2091

Michael Michie

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






Dawn Sutherland named Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Science Education

The University of Winnipeg’s Dr. Dawn Sutherland was named Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Science Education as part of a $66.9 million announcement in Ottawa of 90 Canada Research Chairs by the Honourable Maxime Bernier, federal Minister of Industry and minister responsible for the Canada Research Chairs program.

In her research, Dr. Sutherland, Associate Professor in Education, plans to explore the relationship between culture and science education in indigenous communities, in particular in Manitoba. One of her goals is to see the teachings of Aboriginal culture incorporated into school curricula so that science education is more meaningful, interesting, and relevant for Aboriginal students.

Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, University of Winnipeg President and Vice-Chancellor stated that this initiative is part of a broader strategy underway at UWinnipeg to make education more accessible to and inclusive of Aboriginal peoples and culture.

“This project complements our holistic approach to Aboriginal education,” said Dr. Axworthy. “The Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Science Education builds on our University’s growing expertise and resources in this area such as our new Aboriginal Student Services Centre and the innovative Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre. This combined with the generous support of our partners in both the inner city of Winnipeg and the Aboriginal community as a whole are benefiting not only our students and researchers, but future generations of Aboriginal students.”

A five-year, $500,000 appointment, this Canada Research Chair builds on Dr. Sutherland’s expertise teaching education students in the field of science. Sutherland incorporates traditional Aboriginal knowledge into her science lessons, and participates in an international committee dedicated to exploring how culture, language, and gender influence learning. She is collaborating with colleagues from around the world to develop an academic framework for teaching science to Aboriginal students that teachers can follow in their classrooms. In addition, she is in the process of establishing a centre where research in this area can be carried out.

“The idea is to make science learning relevant and interesting—to put it into a context that students are exposed to day to day,” said Dr. Sutherland. “For some students, this means developing creative techniques, such as incorporating the indigenous knowledge of trappers, Elders, Aboriginal community members who live off the land, to help students engage with the science curriculum.”

Dr. Sutherland is the fifth University of Winnipeg professor named as a Canada Research Chair. Dr. Mavis Reimer is Canada Research Chair in the Culture of Childhood, Dr. Jennifer Brown is Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Peoples in an Urban and Regional Context, Dr. Tom Carter is Canada Research Chair in Urban Change and Adaptation, and Dr. Jacques Tardif is Canada Research Chair in Tree Ring Research.

The Canada Research Chairs program, part of an overall Government of Canada plan to encourage Canada’s innovation, promotes leading-edge research and innovation in universities; provides exciting opportunities for Canadian researchers; and, attracts the best research minds in the world to Canadian universities.

(University of Winnipeg news release, 19 July 2006,

Congratulations, Dawn!

Traditional Knowledge is the Key to Sustainable Development in Samoa: Examples of ecological, botanical and taxonomical knowledge.

This is a paper by Namulau’ulu G. Tavana, Ph.D., Director of Education, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii and Florida

Samoa, like many small island nations provides special challenges for economic development and environmental management. Samoa’s isolation, small size, history of aboriginal settlement and later contact with European-based colonialism, fragile ecosystem based on a highly endemic flora and depauperate fauna, narrow resource base, and contingency on external forces of economic and political power for development create an extraordinary vulnerability. The need for sustainable development with the focus on improving the standards of living and the quality of life for all Samoan citizens of today and for future generations is greater than ever before.

A copy of this paper can be downloaded from here.

Garma Forum - Sharing stories - Successes and challenges

The first plenary session of the Garma Key Forum focused on the problems, paradoxes and solutions in the delivery of education and training. 

Chaired by Phillip Adams, presenter of the Late Night Live program on ABC Radio National, the session included speakers from Indigenous organisations and community leaders as well as leading social justice advocates and representatives from the Ministry of Education in New Zealand and from the World Health Organisation. 

Tobias Nganbe, co-principal of the Thamarrurr school at Wadeye told of the frustrations in his community regarding the ineffectiveness of many government policies, and the need for genuine consultation and more equity in the provision of educational services and resources for all children, no matter where they lived. 

New Zealand Ministry of Education delegate, Te Kepa Stirling captivated the audience with his impassioned speech on the culture and achievements of Maori students and entertained the audience with Maori songs and music. His call for more listening and less talking by policy makers was illustrated by stories of some successes in NZ where government officials were obliged to spend up to three months living in a community so they could consult more closely before introducing new policies.

The afternoon workshop Putting Language and Culture Back into Schools drew an enthusiastic audience who heard about the successes and challenges of bilingual education programs including the development of Picture Dictionaries.

A grass roots program, the Picture Dictionary series was developed by the Institute of Aboriginal Development Press in Alice Springs. Josie Douglas, an Indigenous Research Fellow at Charles Darwin University explained that the books provide an important aid for teachers. ‘They provide a more relevant tool for the delivery of the curriculum in bush schools and are rich in cultural information as well as day-to-day life experiences.’ 

(09 August 2006,

Garma Forum - Look back, look forward and reflect

The 2006 Garma Forum attracted a diverse range of speakers including leaders from traditional aboriginal communities, government officials, policy makers, academic researchers, teachers, health workers and corporate representatives. 

One constant theme that ran throughout the three days was the urgency for action to deal with the issues of disadvantage and the lack of access and resources for education and training in Indigenous communities. There was also a consistent call for everyone to listen more rather than just dictate solutions. 

Key speakers contributed their ideas on the issues, challenges and solutions: 

Yalmay Yunupingu - community leader and teacher 
 “My dream is to have quality education on our own homelands so we can have our own teachers, lawyers, pilots and maintenance crews. Living on homelands there is lots to learn. You are talking with the land, homelands are teaching you.” 

Raymattja Marika, director, Yothu Yindi Foundation 
Some of the 20 key issues, considerations and actions agreed upon by elders as an outcome from the Forum included: 

  • Affirmation of both ways schooling
  • Genuine partnerships between all stakeholders in Indigenous education and training
  • Community input and control of staffing, performance reviews and content in schools
  • Mentoring of Indigenous secondary school students
  • Training for non-Indigenous staff and teachers in Indigenous schools
  • Better alignment of training to employment outcomes
  • Recognition of the value and importance of cultural practices
  • A report back on these actions and outcomes at the 2007 Garma Forum.
Michael Hooke, chief executive, Minerals Council of Australia 
 This was his third visit to Garma and the fourth time the MCA had been a sponsor of Garma. “I come from a generation that perpetuated systematic discrimination. We championed assimilation not self determination. This has created a loss of hope and the onset of despair. The old way was to dig it up, ship it and bank it. Today 60 per cent of our operations in Australia are on aboriginal lands. Supporting communities and the people with education and training is the way forward. It is not only the right thing to do; it also makes sound business sense. We use to decide, announce and defend now we must listen, learn and engage.” 

Jeff McMullen, Honorary CEO, Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for Youth Trust 
“We must not confuse low education participation rates in schools with a lack of interest in education. We have an obsession with attendance rather than performance. I have never met a parent that does not want their child to learn and grow. Learning is empowering. The Trust’s Literacy Backpack Program takes reading back into the home by providing the whole family with material they want to read from AFL and woman’s magazines to subscriptions to Indigenous newspapers and comics for the young such as Deadly Vibe.” 

Leon Morris, executive officer, Indigenous Economic Taskforce, NT Department of Business, Economic and Regional Development 
“Education is the guaranteed pathway to jobs. In 2003, three Indigenous secondary school students graduated in the NT. In 2005 there were 25. Our challenge is to better align training with jobs. I speak to many Indigenous people who say they can paper their walls with certificates but have no jobs at the end. Currently the emphasis is on time spent in training rather than outcomes to jobs.” 

Dr Daniel Etya’ale, Vision 2020 coordinator, Prevention of Blindness and Deafness Office, World Health Organisation 
“We need big dreams not little dreams. Anything that has to be done must be bold and ambitious, but also of the highest quality not just the minimum. If we stick to the minimum we will only impart some knowledge. Knowledge alone is not enough. Students must be masters of that knowledge so they can also be decision makers.” 

(10 August 2006,


International Journal of Education and Development using ICT 

Vol. 2, No. 3 (2006) of International Journal of Education and Development using ICT has now been published online at

Announcing the BLOG for Cultural Studies in Science Education (CSSE)

We invite you to contribute to scholarly discussions in relation to cultural studies in science education on the BLOG for CSSE. The url is:

The articles published in CSSE are cutting edge in terms of theory, method and  the issues addressed in the research. Each published article emphasizes one or  more of the following perspectives: empirical, topical/polemical and theoretical.

Once an article is accepted for publication the editors select the participants in a Forum, which is a companion publication that begins with an articulation of key issues in the article and then ratchets up the scholarly discussion by exploring the issues, theories and methods employed in the paper in a deep way. Hence, for each paper published in CSSE there is a companion Forum that begins and expands a scholarly conversation. We see this as an important way to initiate, continue and expand the quality of the dialogues in science education.

The BLOG is an extension of what we have initiated in CSSE with the paper and associated Forum. Participants in the BLOG contribute to the conversation, which, as it is a conversation among scholars, is conducted in a way appropriate for a community of scholars. Issues that arise in the published works from CSSE, that is, the editorials, contributed papers and forums, are possible foci for scholarly critique and expanded dialogue. Each article/BLOG is assigned a BLOG editor and any filters imposed are part of a peer review process.  We publish contributions that are thoughtful, contribute in a scholarly way, and fit the goals of the CSSE. All publications in the BLOG are expected to add substantively to cultural studies of science education. Argument is expected, as argument is understood within the academy. We expect rationale for positions taken and for sociocultural theory to be employed in ways that catalyze thought and higher levels of scholarship within our field.

Each text submitted to a BLOG is reviewed by a BLOG editor who decides whether to accept it for publication. The expected turnaround time on decisions normally is short on the order of days rather than weeks. Hence, the CSSE BLOG is the field where science educators collectively engage in and produce the most recent and cutting edge thinking in the cultural studies of science education.

Kenneth Tobin & Wolff-Michael Roth (Editors of CSSE) with Stephen Ritchie (CSSE Blog Editor)

Traditional Knowledge Recording Project (TRPK, Australia)

Opportunities to preserve and value Indigenous Traditional Knowledge are endangered by the range of problems within our Environment and Communities today.  Avenues for the preservation of Traditional Knowledge are fading and are at risk of being lost altogether.  Loss of Traditional knowledge will result in a decline of Indigenous Identity and a severe reduction in the recognition and understanding of an invaluable Sustainable Knowledge System.  TKRP is endeavouring to rescue this knowledge, for the benefit of Community and Country, before it is too late.

You can visit their website at

International History & Philosophy of Science Teaching Group newsletter

The September issue of the IHPST newsletter is now available on the web at: The contents are:

1.         Science & Education, Vol.15, Nos. 7-8
2.         Science & Education Journal on the Web
3.         Science & Education Increased Numbers for 2007
4.         Free History of Science Books from Dibner Library
5.         2007 IHPST Conference
6.         Spanish Anthology on History, Philosophy and Science Teaching
7.         Fourth Hellenic Conference on History, Philosophy and Science Teaching
8.         Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia Conference
9.         Current Research
10.       Publications for Sale
11.       Coming Conferences
12.       Future Newsletter Items
13.       IHPST Email List


Transformations Conference 2006: Culture and the Environment in Human Development
Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 27-29 November 2006.

The first Transformations conference was held at the Australian National University in February 2005. So original and so successful was Transformations, and so keen were delegates to see the momentum of the event continue, that the convening organisations have agreed to run the conference on a biennial basis. The second Transformations will therefore be held in November 2006, again at the Australian National University.

Transformations is a unique national conference series that engages communities, bureaucrats, academics, the media, and human service planners, and spans from the local to national and international levels. It is supported by a number of intergovernmental and international NGOs.

Part of the agenda of the convening agencies of Transformations 2006 is to recognise, in a post-industrial globalised world environment, that human development must be understood as a process that occurs both locally, and within a total environment. Planning for development is not just a function of economics, social or political change, health advancement, human and cultural rights, the absence of physical violence, or sustainable physical environments. Rather, it is achieved within, and through, the interplay of all these functions.

These processes, inter-related, iterative, and necessarily achieved through collaborative and simultaneous endeavour, have been recognised for many years. They were first comprehensively yet succinctly described in the document that distilled much of the earlier thinking: the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, November 2001 (UDCD). The UDCD argues for a new understanding of the value of human difference. It is designed to protect and enhance the international intellectual, economic, spiritual and moral value of cultural diversity. The Declaration affirms this diversity as the vital resource to protect cultural rights, bio-diversity, individual self-value, social harmony, cross-cultural communication and to 'humanise globalisation'.

As well as impressive line up of international main speakers, the conference will also include numerous paper, workshop and colloquium presentations by practitioners and researchers.

We would particularly like to invite you to respond to the conference call for papers. Papers submitted for the conference proceedings will be peer-refereed and published in the International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations. If you are unable to attend the conference in person, virtual registrations are also available which allow you to submit a paper for refereeing and possible publication in this fully refereed academic journal, as well as access to the electronic version of the journal.

The deadline for the next round in the call for papers (a title and short abstract) is 30 September 2006. Proposals are reviewed within four weeks of submission. Full details of the conference, including an online call for papers form, are to be found at the conference website -

Second International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
University of Granada, Spain, 10-13 July 2007

The conference will examine the nature of disciplinary and interdisciplinary practices across the social sciences, as well as the relation of the social to the natural sciences, applied sciences and the professions. The focus of papers will range from the finely grained and empirical (research practices and results exemplifying one or more disciplines), to wide-ranging multi-disciplinary and transdisciplinary practices, to perspectives on knowledge and method.

I would particularly like to invite you to respond to the conference call for papers. Presenters may choose to submit written papers for consideration before or after the conference in the fully refereed International Journal of the Interdisciplinary Social Sciences. If you are unable to attend the conference in person, virtual registrations are also available which allow you to submit a paper for refereeing and possible publication in the journal, and give you access to the electronic version of the journal.

The deadline for the next round in the call for papers (a title and short abstract) is 22 October 2006. Proposals are reviewed within four weeks of submission.

Full details of the conference, including an online call for papers form, are to be found at the conference website -

We look forward to receiving your proposals and hope you will be able to join us in Granada in July 2007.

IIId International Conference of The Social Capital Foundation 

15-19 November 2007, in Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.

We invite you to submit papers for this conference; participation as a discussant or attendant is also encouraged.

Please have a look at the conference page of our site, where you will find details of the submission and registration conditions:

May we suggest you to inform those members of your networks who could be interested in the conference. We are looking forward to having news from you and to working closely with you for the success of this event.


This is mostly a summary of upcoming conferences. More details may have been given above or in previous bulletins as shown. A web-based contact is usually included. Inclusion of conferences in this list is not to be read as an endorsement of the conference.

October 2006

4-6 October 2006: Australian Association for Environmental Education conference, Bunbury, WA. Pamphlet available at (April06)

26-29 October 2006: Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Science Revolution in Minority Communities: What Progress Have We Made? Tampa, Florida (Jun06)

November 2006

1-3 November 2006: 2nd Desert Knowledge Symposium, organised by the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre and Desert Knowledge Australia, Alice Springs NT. (April06)

2-3 November 2006:  Aboriginal Studies: Making the Connections, Aboriginal Studies Association in association with SELF Research Centre, College of Arts, University of Western Sydney; NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc., and NSW Aboriginal Education Council. Bankstown Sports Club, 8 Greenfield Parade, Bankstown, NSW. or (August06)

5-9 November 2006: 10th International Congress of Ethnobiology (ICE): "Ethnobiology, Biodiversity and Community Development", Chiang Rai Province of Thailand. (April06)

8-10 November 2006: Policy and Practice in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning in the Elementary Grades. Le Meridien Commodore Hotel, Beirut, Lebanon (Jun06)

22-24 November 2006: MOE-NIE-STAS International Science Education Conference (ISEC) 2006, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637616. Details and forms available at (Jun06)

27-29 November 2006: 4th National Indigenous Education Conference - Getting on with the job: Indigenous Engagement in Education, Newcastle NSW  Australia (April06)

27-29 November 2006: Transformations Conference 2006: Culture and the Environment in Human Development, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, (Oct06)

28-30 November 2006: APERA 2006, the Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association Conference 2006, Hong Kong. (Oct05/June06)

December 2006

1-3 December 2006: ANZCIES 2006: Global Governance, Educational Change, and Cultural Ecology, Australia National University, Canberra. (April06)


January 2007

4-7 January: The Third International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, University of Madras, Chennai, India, (August06)

April 2007

14-17 April: National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) annual meeting, New Orleans, (

July 2007

2 - 6 July: World Environmental Education Congress 2007, International Conference Centre, Durban, South Africa (August06)

8-12 July: World Conference on Science and Technology Education (ICASE/CONASTA56), Perth WA. (August05)

10-13 July 2007: Second International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, University of Granada, Spain, (October06)

11-14 July: 38th Annual Conference, Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA), Fremantle WA (

November 2007

15-19 November 2007:  IIId International Conference of The Social Capital Foundation, in Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii. (Oct06)


March 2008

29 March - 3 April: National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) annual meeting, Baltimore, (

July 2008

6-11 July: CONASTA57, Darwin NT

ASERA, Brisbane Qld

Date not set

World Indigenous People's Conference on Education (WIPCE 2008), Victoria, Australia

Next issue

I will be going over to New Zealand for about 11 weeks just after this issue is launched into cyberspace. You can contact me during that time by email at the usual address ( Hopefully I will be able to assemble and upload the December issue from there. It may be a case of having a finger on a different pulse, you have to wait and see. What I don't expect to be able to do is to distribute anything to the network, including the usual requests for input and notification that the bulletin has been uploaded. I expect to be back in Darwin by mid-December.

Please let me know of anything which you feel should be included in the December issue of the Indigenous Science Network Bulletin by 30 November 2006.

Michael Michie

Last updated: 1 October 2006