Thursday, November 24, 2016

Digital Literacy: 40,000 Years of Knowledge in 21st Century Land Management

The welcome page of STIPA features 
multimedia and Warlpiri Language
A long social and academic discussion has been going on around applying digital literacy, digital humanities, and bridging the digital divide in sharing information. The Warlpiri people form the Tanami desert region of Central Australia have tackled these issues with an online resource called the Southern Tanami Protected Area Story Book

Faced with government legislation and legal decisions that covers their traditional lands and how they manage it, and a complex range of issues and stakeholders, an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) plan was set up. A written document in English and with some Warlpiri that is about 200 pages long was produced. The document discusses the current economic activities on the land ranging from pastoral to mining and traditional community activities. It outlines the community and other stakeholders various goals to achieve including; ensuring traditional culture is incorporated in its activities, maintaining the ecological diversity of the area, and minimise the impact of feral animals, climate change and modern economic activities, whilst ensuring stakeholders' economic sustainability.

In response to the above the document was made more accessible to the wider community as an online resource featuring videos in Warlpiri language. Some highlights for JCU students and staff are:
  • The overall layout and delivery for the target audience
  • Facts around traditional information like seasons, plants and animals and the local communities
  • Videos in Warlpiri language that explain aspects of the plan
  • The IPA document explaining in English the various cultural, community, business and legal aspects
All in all the Warlpiri people are doing interesting and new work in the area of digital humanities. Read more about it in the news story by Elke Weisman on First Nations Telegraph.

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