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Ngarrindjeri knowledge database to inform Coorong management

The Department for Environment and Water is partnering with the Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal Corporation to develop a database of cultural knowledge to inform the future management of the Coorong.

(L-R) Daniel Lloyd HCHB Project Coordinator, Michael Lindsay and Rita Lindsay from Rritjarukar Dance Group on the banks of Lake Alexandrina to discuss culture and two way knowledge sharing.

While the Ngarrindjeri Research Project is an initiative of Project Coorong’s Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin (HCHB) initiative, it will be a Ngarrindjeri led and owned research project enabling inter-generational  learning  for Ngarrindjeri people to share knowledge of the Coorong and the local ecology.

Tim Hartman, Chief Executive Officer from ‎Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal Corporation, said that as Ngarrindjeri, they have a cultural obligation to care for and manage country.

“Having a Ngarrindjeri led and managed research project allows Ngarrindjeri to actively take a leadership role to speak on behalf of Yarluwar Ruwe (Lands and Waters) and the ongoing management of the Coorong,” Tim said.

“It will strengthen the broader community’s understanding on the significance of Ngarrindjeri cultural values and how a healthy system is a requirement of the wellbeing of the Ngarrindjeri people.”

Manager, Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin with the Department for Environment and Water, Angus MacGregor said it’s an exciting change to have Ngarrindjeri as the project leaders and owners of the research outcomes.

“This research aims to provide critical knowledge that will improve ecological outcomes through the respectful application of Ngarrindjeri knowledge to site decision-making,” Angus said.

“A deeper and documented understanding of the knowledge and cultural values of Ngarrindjeri for specific case-studies will allow new management interventions focussed on restoring the ecological character of the Coorong to consider these values.

“It will also support the critical partnerships with Ngarrindjeri to protect and promote Ngarrindjeri culture, heritage and unique relationships with and responsibilities for their Country.”

Research topics to be captured in the knowledge database include:

  • the significance and use of fresh-water soaks and wells along the Coorong
  • knowledge of the Pelican breeding Islands in the Coorong
  • the Salt Creek/South Lagoon’s past importance to Ngarrindjeri Ngartji’s breeding cycles – in particular species such as Jumping Mullet.

“Working with Ngarrindjeri to take the lead role on the project will ensure the knowledge project is conducted in a culturally appropriate manner,” Angus said.

“Ultimately this project will ensure that Ngarrindjeri knowledge is considered and cultural values are protected, contributing to the wellbeing of the Ngarrindjeri people.”

For more information on this project as it evolves or the wider Project Coorong Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin initiative, please visit our website www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/coorong.

This project is part of the South Australian Government’s Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Program, which is jointly funded by the Australian and South Australian governments. 

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