Fighting the legacy of colonisation with innovation

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First Nations communities are being encouraged to share their knowledge with STEM researchers in a new initiative aimed at addressing underrepresented issues.

The National Indigenous Innovation Challenge, hosted by Monash University, aims to support traditional Indigenous knowledge with STEM research to identify issues in First Nations communities and find sustainable solutions.

Program lead and proud Wadjak/Ballardong Noongar man, Associate Dean Professor Christopher Lawrence, says First Nations communities have knowledge which crucial to addressing long-standing issues.

“The problem we’re talking about is the legacy of colonisation that has impacted on our community, and what we want our indigenous people to tell us, is what they think the problems are and what they think the innovative solution can be to help solve those problems.”

“Part of my role at the faculty of IT at Monash is to actually change that narrative around how we perceive indigenous knowledge… I think they were doing amazing things that we’re only now starting to discover how extraordinary their work was and is and how that actually informs a lot of the work that we do now. The machines that they created, like the flying machine, the boomerang…these are the sorts of tools that were around way before Da Vinci, way before Galileo, our people we’re astronomers as well.”

Associate Dean Professor Lawrence encouraged all those who want to be involved to reach out to him or the Monash University National Indigenous Innovation Challenge.

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