Young ‘know role’ in knowledge future

19-May-2016

Dr Josie Douglas: examined the social lives of young Aboriginal adults.

Dr Josie Douglas: examined the social lives of young Aboriginal adults.


Young Indigenous Central Australians recognise their vital role in ensuring that traditional knowledge is carried into the future, a Charles Darwin University researcher has found.

Dr Josie Douglas said that young Aboriginal people had much to offer in showing how modern technology could be used in the “maintenance and transmission of knowledge”.

“As fearless users of technology, our young people are often underestimated but nonetheless a central element in the Indigenous knowledge system,” Dr Douglas said.

“They also motivate and energise the ‘senior generations’, which is vital to the endurance of knowledge and its future.”

Dr Douglas, who will receive her PhD at a graduation ceremony in Darwin today, said her doctoral research was based on the views of more than 150 young adults, from a mix of language groups, who live in Alice Springs.

“I examined the lives of young Aboriginal adults and the acquisition and transmission of Indigenous ecological knowledge,” she said.

“I found that the major contemporary reflections of Indigenous ecological knowledge, such as going hunting, taking part in ceremonial life, believing in the efficacy of traditional healing practices, valuing language skills, and observing ‘rules’ in relationship to conscious country, are salient symbols of youth social identity.

“Indigenous ecological knowledge continues to be integral to the living landscape in Central Australia.”

Dr Douglas said she was motivated to undertake the research out of a concern that little was known of what young Aboriginal people thought about Indigenous ecological knowledge.

“Negative clichés about young adults are neat and convenient explanations that tell very little about what is really going on in their lives, especially in relationship to Indigenous ecological knowledge and their elders.”