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Sustainability and Environment: Indigenous Resources

A study guide for Bachelor of Sustainability and Environment students.

Finding resources from an Indigenous perspective


Evaluating information using the CRAP test

Even if your information is relevant, it might not be good quality. Check if it passes the C.R.A.P. Test before you use it.

NOTE: An additional layer of evaluation should be applied when searching for Indigenous perspectives. Check if the author/s identifies as an Indigenous person and if not, what kind of collaboration/consultation did they have with Indigenous Peoples.

Recommended books

Dark emu : black seeds : agriculture or accident?

Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating and storing - behaviors inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. Gerritsen and Gammage in their latest books support this premise but Pascoe takes this further and challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie. Almost all the evidence comes from the records and diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources.

The Biggest Estate on Earth

Across Australia, early Europeans commented again and again that the land looked like a park. With extensive grassy patches and pathways, open woodlands and abundant wildlife, it evoked a country estate in England. Bill Gammage has discovered this was because Aboriginal people managed the land in a far more systematic and scientific fashion than we have ever realised. For over a decade, Gammage has examined written and visual records of the Australian landscape. He has uncovered an extraordinarily complex system of land management using fire and the life cycles of native plants to ensure plentiful wildlife and plant foods throughout the year. This book rewrites the history of this continent, with huge implications for us today. 

Psychology and Indigenous Australians : foundations of cultural competence

This book fills an important gap in understanding the psychological impact of colonization on Indigenous Australians. Using cultural competence as a theoretical framework, it starts with an exploration of the nature of culture and worldviews which permeates and integrates the book. It provides a convincing explanation of how colonization has affected Indigenous Australians, the role of psychology in this process, and ways forward to redress Indigenous disadvantage. A key emphasis is on ʻdoing our own workʼ, the essential role of critical reflection in trans-cultural communication.

Reclaiming Indigenous Voice and Vision

The essays in Reclaiming Indigenous Voice and Vision springfrom an International Summer Institute held in 1996 on the culturalrestoration of oppressed Indigenous peoples. The contributors,primarily Indigenous, unravel the processes of colonization thatenfolded modern society and resulted in the oppression of Indigenouspeoples.

Recommended videos

Gulpilil - One Red Blood

David Gulpilil lives a Spartan and demanding life in tribal Arnhem Land. The film shows David at home in Ramingining in Australia's Northern Territory and in his other life as a respected film actor. The film traces how Gulpilil's acting work declined during the 80s and how he was overlooked for over a decade.

Ten Canoes

Ten canoes tells the story of the people of the Arafura swamp, in their language, and is set a long time before the coming of the Balanda, as white people were known. Dayindi covets one of the wives of his older brother. To teach him the proper way, he is told a story from the mythical past, a story of wrong love, kidnapping, sorcery, bungling mayhem and revenge gone wrong.

How The Multibillion Dollar Commercial Fishing Industry Robs Coastal Indigenous Communities

It’s estimated that there are over 27 million Indigenous people living on the world’s coastlines. For these coastal communities, the ocean has been vital to their culture and survival for thousands of years. But global seafood consumption is rising, fueling a multibillion-dollar commercial fishing industry, and experts warn that, in some places, these commercial vessels are catching more fish than the ocean can provide, threatening sea life and the very people who rely on the ocean the most.

Country and Sustainability

This video forms part of a higher-education teaching module on the Indigenous concepts of Country and Sustainability, produced by the Australian Research Institute for Environment and Sustainability at Macquarie University. 

Recommended websites