9 October 2020
Maintaining mutually supportive relationships with places and non-human beings is a foundation of sustainability for Nyikina people. The river, for example, needs human connection and care to sustain its health, just like a person does. Although quantitative indicators of ecosystem health are important, simply meeting volumetric targets for water flows or fish numbers is not enough to ensure the river’s vitality. This can only be achieved by maintaining reciprocal relationships between the river, its waters, plants and animals, people and ancestral beings.
The water-planning framework should be based upon this critical set of relationships. The researchers encourage sustainability scientists and water planners to work collaboratively with Indigenous people so that custodial relationships under Indigenous law are given equal consideration with hydro-ecological science and federal and state legislative requirements.
This collaboration has also resulted in the beautiful Nyikina Seasonal Calendar, a cultural poster about the cycle of life, story and law in Nyikina Country. The calendar was launched at an event on Nyikina Country in Derby, Western Australia, on 15 November.
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