Context-driven GIS modelling of values, concerns and seasonal uses of country for Yawuru post native title governance

Around the globe, Indigenous peoples are increasingly using Geographic Information Systems to combat information asymmetries, facilitate negotiations and support land management following restitution. In Australia, First Nations are increasingly using GIS to engage in challenging and asymmetric environments following native title recognition. Indeed, the Yawuru peoples of Broome, Western Australia, actively use GIS as part of their post native title governance and strategic knowledge vision. Nonetheless, concerns have been raised about misalignments between the technology and diverse Indigenous spatial ontologies.

This presentation introduces a context-driven, ontologically-aligned and analytical approach to GIS developed with Nyamba Buru Yawuru. The approach uses index modelling and fuzzy logic to visualise some of the continuity and complexity associated with Indigenous worldviews. It extends on existing techniques and produces collective spatial models and overlays of values, concerns and seasonal uses of landscape at Broome Town and Crab Creek.

This presentation outlines key spatial and qualitative findings from this research. It evaluates the new approach and looks at its broader applicability and transferability in a post native title context. It concludes with some implications for Yawuru governance, Australian policy and future research.

About the Speaker

Sandra Potter is a passionate human geographer who is interested in the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to social and social justice issues.

She is currently a PhD Candidate at the Fenner School of Environment and Society where she is working in partnership with the Native Title and Environmental Services of Unit of Nyamba Buru Yawuru. Sandra’s PhD research focuses on the use of GIS to support post native title governance through the mapping of values, concerns and seasonal landscape use.

She is also working as a GIS Officer at CartoGIS Services at the College of Asia and the Pacific at ANU.