Thinking, Speaking and Being – First Nations Solutions For Global Change Conference

The Lowitja Institute is a National Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research. The Institute provides quality research, and knowledge translation by supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health researchers. Held on the Larrakia nation whenua in Darwin, Toi Tangata CEO, Megan Tunks, attended the conference that was hosted by the Lowitja Institute in June.

Through a range of keynote speakers, panels and breakout sessions the theme Thinking, Speaking, Being highlighted the importance of language in enabling empowerment, cultural strength, wellbeing, and individual, family and community identity. It also reminded delegates and presenters to consider the global implications of their work, to highlight the role of First Nations people in leading change, and to showcase Indigenous solutions. Importantly, it encouraged ways of thinking and knowing in research, and ways of interacting and sharing knowledge including the role of language. 

The centre takes its name from Dr Lois Lowitja, the founding Chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Commission (ATSIC) who has had a long commitment and career in Aboriginal Health, Social Justice and Equity.

View the Conference statements here,  which were developed each day during the conference

 Here are some of the Keynote Speakers from the conference and some links to the topics they covered;

 Dr Julie Kim spoke on the Gross National Happiness Index. Bhutan.

Bruce Pascoe spoke about Food Sovereignty – and the Aboriginal Peoples of South Australia Traditional Agriculturists

Dr Tahu Kukutai’s keynote address spoke on indigenous data sovereignty and a research project with Ngati Tipa funded through a Marsden research grant. The Counting our Tipuna research project is a digital pa harakiekie project which utilises digitised data, photos, interviews, songs, genealogy, and GIS maps. The research identified important ancestors within the Iwi, and why they are significant. It also identified sites of significance, stories that go with those sites with whakapapa charts focus of meetings.

Another session which stood out (there were many) was the Panel Korero that spoke to the thinking theme on one of the days. The panel included; Dr Kerry Arabena, Ms June Oscar, Associate Professor James Ward: 

  • Imagine (Dr Kerry Arabena) creating space and time to think
  • Right to my story & lived reality – because I can speak to the space
  • Knowledge vital to a connected & healthy economy
  • Ability to make a difference, combine new aspects
  •     https://lowitja2019.paperlessevents.com.au/sessions/view/9

Check out other sessions and presentations here.