Indigenous people have demonstrated extraordinary resilience in maintaining use and occupation of their physical, social and cultural environments. Despite cultural and social strengths, colonisation and associated historical acts over generations have challenged the capacity of Indigenous communities to pursue their traditional and customary obligations. There is, however, growing recognition of the importance of applying traditional Indigenous knowledge, skills and systems to manage traditional estates. This recognition must be reinforced in both public and private sectors, so that the preservation of Indigenous estates becomes pivotal in the management of the ‘national estate’, for all Australians.
As shown throughout the stories in this volume, NAILSMA’s I-Tracker program is unique for its ability to bring together the use of western science and technology with traditional knowledge systems, to develop appropriate modern methodologies that can respond to contemporary challenges and opportunities, and build greater resilience in our natural and built environments for future generations.
North Australia—its people, cultural traditions, landscape, and biodiversity—is of global significance. There are few landscapes on earth where traditional Indigenous societies and their physical environments have survived relatively intact. However, regardless of the circumstances that Indigenous people find themselves in within their particular regions or nation-states, there is a universal connection. Through the sharing of our stories we can both celebrate our survival and achievements as well as benefit from the lessons learned by the accomplishments of others. By working together, we can build on our contributions to a resilient and prosperous future that benefits the entire community.
This publication is a testament to the unique collaboration between the Traditional Owners who have provided their knowledge and support for this publication, and the committed and dedicated individuals who through their service with NAILSMA have made this book possible, both in terms of their research and editorial contribution. NAILSMA would like to particularly acknowledge Joe Morrison, Rod Kennett, Micha Jackson, Erica McCreedy, Vanessa deKoninck, Christy Davies, Billee McGinley and Leonie Molloy