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Healing land and people with biodiversity research

Healing land and people with biodiversity research

Darryl Kickett (centre) with Narrogin-based Research Assistant and Dryandra  Wilman Elder Travis Abraham (left) and Wilman Elder Clive Abraham (right).  Credit: Curtin University

A Discovery Indigenous research project led by Mr Darryl Kickett from Curtin University's School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry is advancing reconciliation in Australia by bringing together scientific expertise, history and Indigenous cultural knowledge to conserve the country’s precious biodiversity.

The project titled Healing Land, Healing People: Novel Nyungar Perspectives includes fellow Curtin researchers Professor Anna Haebich and Dr Carol Dowling, as well as Professor Stephen Hopper from The University of Western Australia and Dr Tiffany Shellam from Deakin University.

The unique research project combines expertise in cultural healing, cross-cultural knowledge of biodiversity on old and young landscapes, archival collections-based historical studies, and oral histories explored on country with Nyungar people and along songlines in southwest Australia.

Darryl Kickett has been instigating opportunities for Aboriginal leaders, communities, and governments to work together for many years while based at Curtin University’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies. In this project Nyungar Elders and family groups are contributing historical knowledge about how the study area, the Dryandra Woodlands, south of Perth, has been used for thousands of years. By combining this knowledge with scientific assessments, the research team is working to heal the land, by slowing the decline in biodiversity in the woodlands and the surrounding area.

The collaboration also provides a model opportunity to embrace Indigenous Elders as a solution to protecting biodiversity, and to advance the progress of reconciliation between Nyungar people, non-Indigenous community members and land.


‘As a Nyungar man who grew up near the dryandra woodlands, near Narrogin, this valuable nature conservation area holds cultural significance to indigenous people and i am grateful to the Wiilman elders for their role in this project, which seeks to advance reconciliation by healing land and people,’ says discovery indigenous researcher, Darryl Kickett.

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