Our Knowledge Our Way

Our Knowledge, Our Way in caring for Country Indigenous-led approaches to strengthening and sharing our knowledge for land and sea management. Best Practice Guidelines from Australian experience

Melissa George


"Indigenous knowledge is one of the country’s great hidden assets. NAILSMA has been working for more than a decade to ensure that students and academics not only recognise the value of Indigenous knowledge but deal with it and the people who own it properly. As more Australians start to understand, and value, the leading role that Indigenous people play in land and sea management, it is timely that a guide like this be developed. Ideas about protocol, trust and consent are all rightly highlighted in this guide, but it is worth remembering that listening and allowing Traditional Owners the chance to really lead is the foundation of great practice.

The land and sea sector has had its challenges with Indigenous partnerships, but there have been more peaks than valleys. Unlike other sectors where these matters can seem theoretical, land and sea management forces people to work together to sort out the hard problems of ownership and partnership in real dirt and saltwater. Because of this our sector is presented with an opportunity to lead the way and provide a model for how we deal with the cultural wealth of our Old People. If we can model it properly, others will follow.

Finally, I would remind you that while these guides have value, they are only a starting point. The
principles and approaches presented here are only signposts on the road. In the end what matters most is whose hands are on the steering wheel."