When camp dogs run over maps: 'proper-way' research in an Aboriginal community in the north-east of Western Australia

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Date: Fall 2019
From: Australian Aboriginal Studies(Vol. 2019, Issue 2)
Publisher: Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
Document Type: Report
Length: 7,004 words
Lexile Measure: 1530L

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Abstract :

A 'continual flow of commentary and classification' (Dodson 1994:2) has marked research relationships with Aboriginal people since the initial invasion of this country. Under the colonisers' ethnographic gaze, Aboriginal people have been the subject of surveillance, with research linked to imperialism and colonialism perpetuating the fantasy of superiority of white nation and framing indigeneity within racialised deficit assumptions. Colonial relationships persist within institutional centres such as research spaces, as power relationships within colonial contexts continue to influence how research is conducted and interpreted (Kovach 2018). These practices have attempted to silence and exclude Aboriginal living experiences and perspectives contributing to a legacy of mistrust within Aboriginal communities. This paper explores what it means to tell a different story and demonstrates how the processes of decolonising methodologies and research methods have informed and shaped this story. The decolonisation process of research methodology is essential to Indigenous reclamation of history. The power of Indigenous oral histories in supporting the purpose of decolonising frontier history lies not in the extractive discourse of colonial practices, but in the ethical and transformative 'Aboriginal-centric practice' (Watson 2007:135) of centring Aboriginal living experiences and perceptions. Using a story about camp dogs running all over the maps, the paper describes an Indigenist approach to historical education research in an Aboriginal community in the north-east of Western Australia. The importance of valorising ethical practices and cultural safety in research is highlighted by explaining how Indigenous research methods and decolonised research design are used in the study. Furthermore, the paper demonstrates how reframed Indigenous intellectual property rights and archives are dismantling what has been remembered by whom and for what purpose. The paper argues that these collaborative and emancipatory processes support the decolonisation of history and the telling of different stories.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A638864255