There are many ways to get involved in National Reconciliation Week activities (27 May – 3 June). At the ALA, we saw it as a great opportunity to kick-start the next stage of our Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (IEK) work, focusing on making the ALA more relevant to Indigenous people and communities.

Traditional land management practices and Indigenous knowledge about plants, animals and the environment are connected with people, place and culture. This knowledge has developed over thousands of years and offers critical insights for managing the environment today. The ALA is exploring the role of information management platforms in bridging the boundaries between traditional Indigenous knowledge and western science.

The ALA’s IEK program of work recognises the essential nature of a participatory approach, and aims to provide tools to enable greater Indigenous participation in biodiversity information management and assessment, and to support other aspirations of Indigenous people related to ecological or biodiversity knowledge. We currently partner in two IEK projects, one in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory and one in Cape York, Queensland. Both projects are exploring two-way knowledge sharing and learning between traditional land custodians and the ALA.

This week the ALA is conducting a sprint (a software development work phase) to install the following improvements to the ALA’s website in response to feedback from the Olkola (Cape York) and Ngukurr (Arnhem Land) community users.

  1. Introduction of specific spatial layers into the ALA’s mapping and analysis tools.
  2. Modifications to the Species Profiles app to upload multi-media files and to improve useability.
  3. Addition of a tab and other modifications on ALA Species pages to enable Indigenous stories, Indigenous language names and multimedia to be displayed.

The ALA hopes to collaborate with more Indigenous communities across Australia to foster two-way engagement in biodiversity knowledge.

For more information on the ALA’s IEK work, visit our blogs on the Yugul Mangi Rangers and the Olkola People.

Image of cheeky yams being peeled

The Yugul Mangi Rangers working with elders and young people to protect and reconnect with traditional food, Jalma (Cheeky Yam, Dioscorea bulbifera) and learn about Country. Image: Emilie Ens