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Accepted Paper:

Digital mapping and storytelling to support environmental custodianship resurgence in Walbanga land and sea Country  
Annick Thomassin (The Australian National University) Jordan Nye (ANU) Janet Hunt (Australian National University) Karen Soldatic (Toronto Metropolitan University) Kim Spurway (Western Sydney University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores some of the opportunities and challenges emerging from the use of digitisation and mapping for the actualisation of Indigenous cultural projects for the Walbanga people of the Yuin nation living on Country on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia.

Paper long abstract:

Members of the Walbanga community have long aspired to strengthen their capacity to influence the development and environmental management decisions across their land and sea territories. At present, they have little influence over the current settler colonial developmental and environmental trajectory practised on Walbanga Country. Walbanga historical and contemporary connections to Country, their environmental custodianship practices and aspirations relative to their coastal urban and peri-urban territories have remained largely invisible to many of the non-Indigenous inhabitants and transient populations of the region. Settler colonial development structures and its imposition on Walbanga peoples and their territories is rarely recognised as a form of colonial dispossession that limits their access to their environment and resources, criminalising cultural practices that maintain a continuation of Indigenous economic and spiritual engagements with Country. The significance of Indigenous stewardship was further highlighted by the 2020 bushfires that devastated Walbanga territories and over 18 million hectares of forest on the Australian east coast. Yet, despite relative invisibility across the transformed geographical landscape with colonial invasion and settler dispossession, Walbanga’s ways of being in the world, sovereignty, knowledge and ancestors continue to co-exist in dynamic and entangled engagements with settlers and visitors to their world. Our team has worked to develop digital biocultural survey, mapping and storytelling tools aimed at making Walbanga lifeways, stewardship practices, knowledge and passions visible to a broader world. This paper critically engages with some of the key ontological, social and ethical issues, opportunities and challenges for the Walbanga people involved in this work.

Panel P19b
The promises and challenges of the AI and digital environment for Indigenous peoples' sovereign futures
  Session 1 Tuesday 7 June, 2022, -