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Indigenous Studies

Working with Indigenous Knowledges

The Indigenous Studies Guide and the Black Lives Matter Guide are complementary research tools. Please consult both guides as needed.

The Western Sydney University Indigenous Strategy 2020-2025 

Western Sydney University’s Indigenous Strategy 2020-2025 establishes how Western will position itself as a national leader in Indigenous higher education. The University has always been located on Aboriginal land. We value and nurture our relationships with the Indigenous community as an anchor institution that serves Western Sydney. This commitment and pride underpins our core values and beliefs. The Indigenous Strategy focuses on strategic objectives in seven areas of Indigenous engagement: students; employment; research; learning and teaching; community engagement; leadership; and cultural viability and knowledge. Western is deeply committed to the objectives set out within this strategic document. The University will ensure these objectives are everyone’s responsibility, and that staff, students and community will see significant positive outcomes that change their experience of Western.

The WSU Indigenous Strategy aligns with the Universities Australia Indigenous Strategy  2017-2020 and the Universities Australia Indigenous Strategy 2022-2025.  

Guidelines for Indigenous Research

Care Principles - Global Indigenous Data Alliance

The current movement toward open data and open science does not fully engage with Indigenous Peoples rights and interests. Existing principles within the open data movement (e.g. FAIR: findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) primarily focus on characteristics of data that will facilitate increased data sharing among entities while ignoring power differentials and historical contexts. The emphasis on greater data sharing alone creates a tension for Indigenous Peoples who are also asserting greater control over the application and use of Indigenous data and Indigenous Knowledge for collective benefit.

This includes the right to create value from Indigenous data in ways that are grounded in Indigenous worldviews and realise opportunities within the knowledge economy. The CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance are people and purpose-oriented, reflecting the crucial role of data in advancing Indigenous innovation and self-determination. These principles complement the existing FAIR principles encouraging open and other data movements to consider both people and purpose in their advocacy and pursuits.

Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC ) - Data Management

If your research involves handling, managing and/or analysing Indigenous data then it is important that the CARE principles are applied.  

What Are the CARE Principles?

The CARE principles describe how data should be treated to ensure that Indigenous governance over the data and its use are respected. ‘CARE’ is the acronym for: 

Collective benefits: Data ecosystems shall be designed and function in ways that enable Indigenous peoples to derive benefit from the data.

Authority to control: Indigenous peoples’ rights and interests in Indigenous data must be recognised and their authority to control such data be empowered.

Responsibility: Those working with Indigenous data have a responsibility to share how those data are used to support Indigenous peoples’ self-determination and collective benefit.

Ethics: Indigenous peoples’ rights and wellbeing should be the primary concern at all stages of the data life cycle and across the data ecosystem.


Ethical Guidelines for research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

These guidelines available from the NHMRC website work with two other guidelines (recently revised) - the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research and the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research which provide more specific information about ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities. 

Keeping Resources on Track 

Keeping research on track II was developed to provide advice on how the values and principles outlined in Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders can be put into practice in research.

AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research 2020

All guidelines should also be read alongside the AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research 2020, developed by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).

Protocols For Using First Nations Cultural And Intellectual Property In The Arts - Australia Council for the Arts

First published in 2002 and revised in 2007, this protocol guide endorses the rights of Indigenous people to their cultural heritage and supports Indigenous creative practice. This protocol guide encourages self-determination and helps build a strong and diverse Indigenous arts sector. These are key goals and priority areas of the Australia Council for the Arts.

Creative practitioners who work with Indigenous artists or engage with Indigenous cultural heritage in projects, and are funded by Australia Council for the Arts grant assessment panels are required to comply with this protocol guide as a condition of funding.

Over the years, the principles and protocols contained in this protocol guide have also been applied nationally and internationally – educating readers and users on Indigenous Australian cultural heritage, and encouraging meaningful collaborations with Indigenous artists and creators. 

Aboriginal Culture and Intellectual Property Protocols 

Cultural institutions, such as museums, galleries, libraries and archives, are tasked with representing the contemporary cultural landscape and the history of the nation. This often involves the collecting, archiving and showcasing of Indigenous cultural materials and objects, or Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP). This cultural heritage is the means through which the vast history of the First Australians is depicted and understood. 

Videos and Streaming Media

Cultural Protocols and Research with Indigenous communities

Dr Curtis Roman discusses cultural protocols that are important for research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

Cultural Protocols when researching with Australian Aboriginal communities

 Walpiri/Warumungu woman, Valda Shannon, discusses cultural mores that will have an impact when working with Indigenous communities. 

Improving Indigenous Research Capabilities: An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Data Commons.

A presentation of the project plan for Improving Indigenous Research Capabilities: An Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Research Data Commons (RDC), part of the ARDC-led Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) Research Data Commons and Indigenous Research Capability Program. HASS Research Data Commons and Indigenous Research Capability - ARDC

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Library guide created by Western Sydney University Library staff is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY)