Suggested reading

The references listed below are relevant for teaching the concept of Indigenous knowledge, particularly through the science curriculum.

Baker, Richard. (2003) Yanyuwa classical burning regimes, Indigenous science and cross-cultural communication. In Australia burning: fire ecology, policy and management issues, edited by G. Cary, D. Lindenmayer and S. Dovers. Collingwood, Vic.: CSIRO Publishing.
Baker recognises the science in Indigenous knowledge and argues that Indigenous knowledge can complement science on the basis of his research on Yanyuwa environmental management in northern Australia.

Christie, Michael. (1993) Aboriginal science for the ecologically sustainable future. Chain Reaction (68):40-43.
The basis of Christie’s view is that Western science is based on hard data and Aboriginal science is based on context. Furthermore, if the world’s environmental problems are to be solved, science must take all human needs into account.

Harding, S. (1994). "Is science multicultural? Challenges, resources, opportunities, uncertainties." Configurations 2.2: 310-330.
Harding examines western and non-western origins of modern science and the possibility of culturally distinctive sciences. She also addresses the question of whether modern science is culturally western.

Harris, Stephen. (1990) Two-way Aboriginal schooling: education and cultural survival. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press.
Throughout his exploration of ‘two-way’ schooling, Harris is convinced that it is the best way to promote success for Aboriginal students. Although he focuses on both the theory and practice of education in the Northern Territory in the 80s, his discussion on the role of culture in education is very relevant today.

Kawagley, A.O., Norris-Tull, D., and Norris-Tull, R.A. (1998) The Indigenous worldview of Yupiaq culture: its scientific nature and relevance to the practice and teaching of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 35 (2):133-144.
The authors advocate the recognition and inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in the science curriculum in Alaska.  They provide background on Alaskan native culture and education, detail Indigenous contributions to science and technology and describe the Yupiaq worldview with suggestions for effective inclusion in the curriculum.

Langton, Marcia, and Northern Territory University. Centre for Indigenous Natural and Cultural Resource Management. (1998) Burning questions: emerging environmental issues for Indigenous peoples in Northern Australia. Darwin: Centre for Indigenous Natural and Cultural Resource Management, Northern Territory University.
After exploring the history of ideas on Aboriginal land use, Langton goes on to argue for the recognition of Indigenous knowledge and its application in environmental management strategies. Case studies from Arnhem Land demonstrate the integrity of Indigenous fire regimes.

Marika, R.  (1999) The 1998 Wentworth Lecture. Australian Aboriginal Studies (1):3-9
Dr R. Marika briefly describes the history of Yolngu interaction with outsiders in their land and introduces aspects of Yolngu worldview. She explains how she works within two knowledge systems and how Yolngu concepts are being incorporated into the curriculum at Yirrkala school. Also available at

Michie, M. (2004) Indigenous science. In Science edge 3: student book and CD-ROM, edited by J. Sharwood and M. Khun: Thomson Learning Australia.
In twenty highly illustrated pages, Michie addresses broad topics in the environmental knowledge of Aboriginal people across Australia: Who are Australia’s Indigenous people?; Indigenous Australians as scientists; The earth is our Mother; Indigenous people and fire; Bush tucker; Bush medicines; Indigenous tools and weapons; Indigenous geologists.

Michie, M. (2002) Why Indigenous science should be included in the school science curriculum. Australian Science Teachers Journal 48 (2):36.
This article discusses the importance of including Indigenous science in the school science curriculum, noting that Indigenous science presents a different way of understanding the world. Michie describes what Indigenous science tells teachers and students about Western science and science education, and notes that the study of Indigenous science can be a vehicle for social justice.

Morphy, H. (2002) Cross-cultural categories: Yolngu science and local discourses. Paper read at CHAGS, in Edinburgh. View paper.
Morphy challenges us to consider a cross-cultural category of nature and to focus on the common elements between Indigenous and Western knowledge. He discusses the introduction of Yolngu science in the curriculum at a school in northeast Arnhem Land.

Neidjie, Bill, Stephen Davis, and Allan Fox. (1985) Kakadu man...Bill Neidjie. Queanbeyan, N.S.W.: Mybrood.
Through photography and poetry this book explores the environmental worldview of a senior elder of the Kakadu area, the last speaker of Gagadju who died in 2002.

Rose, Deborah Bird , Diana James, and Christine Wesson. (2003) Indigenous kinship with the natural world in New South Wales. Sydney: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
This report examines the relationships of kinship and caring between Aboriginal people and plant and animal species. There are two case studies: Ngiyampaa people in western NSW, and Yuin people in and around the Wallaga Lake community on the south coast of NSW. (You can download the pdf at

Snively, Gloria, and John Corsiglia. (2001) Discovering Indigenous science: implications for science education. Science Education 85 (1):6-34.
The authors argue that Indigenous knowledge has been kept out of science education and describe Canadian and other examples where the traditional knowledge of Indigenous people has contributed to scientific understanding. They present ways in which teachers can integrate Indigenous knowledge in the science curriculum.

Stanley, W.B., and Brickhouse, N.W. (2001) Teaching sciences: the multicultural question revisited. Science Education 85:35-49.
Stanley and Brickhouse prefer a multicultural approach rather than a universalist view as the basis for the science curriculum. They put the case for including an understanding of the social and political dimensions of science to explain how different knowledge systems interact.

Turnbull, D. (2000). Masons, tricksters and cartographers: comparative studies in the sociology of scientific and Indigenous knowledge. Amsterdam, Harwood Academic.
Turnbull argues that all knowledge is relative and further that traditional knowledges must be revalidated and modern technoscience correspondingly devalued. He traces some aspects of the history of western scientific domination and Eurocentrism. His research provides a relevant background for attempting to see ways in which there can be a discourse across knowledge systems.