Shielding indigenous worlds from extraction and the transformative potential of decolonizing collaborative research

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Transdisciplinary Theory, Practice and Education: The Art of Collaborative Research and Collective Learning, 2018, pp. 203 - 219
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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018. “Jungku Ngambala Ngarrur Ngarrumba Yarkijina Yurrngumba” ‘We sit peacefully in our lands forever’ Garrwa Elder Nancy McDinny Elder Nancy McDinny evoked this Garrwa proverb in the lead-up to the October 2014 protests against fracking and the proposed zinc mine at McArthur in the Gulf of Carpentaria in Borroloola. As a direct challenge to mining extraction, the proverb asserts a profound guardianship role, laid down by creation heroes and enacted by our ancestor’s intent on maintaining healthy conditions and peaceful lives in Garrwa country. Garrwa territory lies in the South West Gulf of the Northern Territory, a region with ancient interwoven storytelling traditions. The Garrwa world resonates with stories and songs for sustaining life and our relational ways of being. These protests occurred in the first year of my PHD study. This study looks towards understanding the renewal of ancient song traditions through Indigenous video. The study reveals how our ancient song traditions contain dynamic world-making doctrines and cultural powers that are sourced from creation journeys, yet extend across social, cultural and political spheres. It is here that we reveal the synergies between ancient guardianship roles and the alliances that are emerging within movements in support of Indigenous self-determination and sustainability. This chapter focuses on understanding Yarnbar Jarngkurr, ‘talk story’, as an emergent creative Indigenous methodology & shielding strategy within the family protests of October 2014. Yarnbar Jarngkurr is an expression of the family way of being, of Garrwa self determination and an emergent decolonizing framework for meaningful research collaboration. This paper explores two foundational alignments within this framework: relational being and enactment of intent. Carefully framed Indigenous research collaborations hold transformative potential to revitalize our languages and contribute to sustainable movements in contemporary life. A conscious transdisciplinary shift would forge deeper understandings of relational being as a collective positioning and continue manifesting interconnectedness through new communicative models of autonomous sustainability and healthy living.
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