Indigenous science explored at Jigamy

A large crowd packed into the Aboriginal Keeping Place at Jigamy Farm on Tuesday night for an insight into indigenous science, as part of National Science Week.

The talk included a discussion on the science of the Bundian Way, centering on the Aboriginal Women at Yam Fields (AWAY) program, which aims to re-establish the yam fields along the Monaro plains.

Program coordinators Aileen Blackburn and Annabel Dorrough said that a diverse range of yams have already been found since the project began early last year, including orchids, lilies and daisies.

Yams were widespread and abundant in the region prior to European settlement, forming a major food source for Aboriginal people, and Ms Dorrough said the project is investigating management options.

“We’ve got a desire to bring back cultural management, and working closely with Aileen and our two young trainees from Eden, we’ll be experimenting with traditional practices like burning and digging,” she said.

“We’re also establishing a propagation facility at Jigamy, because the Monaro plains don’t produce a lot of seed at certain times.”

Astrophysicist Dr Duane Hamacher, from the University of NSW, also spoke about astronomy from both colonial and indigenous perspectives.

“One of my students has actually been researching local Yuin astronomy, and she was due to come down too, but flew out to Denmark to finish her studies,” he said.

“It’s great to be able to talk about astronomy from both the colonial and indigenous perspectives, and give people both sides of the story.”

Sapphire Coast Science Week wraps up with walks in the Panboola Wetlands (weather permitting) and a Science Café at Oaklands on Thursday, followed by a trivia night on Friday, and an open day at the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre on Saturday.

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