The Black Book

bbd_vert_logo The quote on the home page of the The Black Book site reads, “It’s taken sixty thousand years, but finally the portal to Indigenous media and the arts in Australia is here.”    This is one of many sites that features Indigenous communities in Australia using the Internet and multimedia to share their traditions, stories, and arts to inform local communities and the broader global audience.   The Black Book has two main sections: the directory and the library.  The Directory includes over 2700 listings of  Indigenous organizations that work in the arts, media and cultural areas.  The library contains over 2000 pieces of artistic work including work from the 1890s to now. The work is categorized into publications, music, screen productions, documentaries, plays, features, and albums sections. The site also serves as an up to date information portal about events in the country, jobs and training, and leading Indigenous artists.  The Black Book site was inspired by the The Brown Pages, a similar site created by the Maori community.

The Inspiration page on the site links viewers to the following “trailblazers”

Oodgeroo Noonuccal
Bob Maza
Russel Page
Emily Kame Kngwarreye
Michael Riley
Kevin Smith
Pauline McLeod

The Black Book logo [Online Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2009, from The Black Book website.

November 21, 2009   No Comments

Module 4 Entry #1

Indigenous Science Network 

I came across this site while working with my math team on the implementation of new curriculum. We were looking for links to include in a resources list  for indigenous math and science.

The site includes links to news, research articles, conferences and calendar of events. What drew us to the page was the indigenous science link.

November 11, 2009   No Comments

Module#3 Weblog#2 by Dilip Verma

Indigenous Knowledge and Resource Management in Northern Australia

Making Collective Memory with Computers

Web Site:

The IKRMNA was a project that ran from 2003 to 2006 and aimed to support and develop databases that focused on the preservation of Indigenous languages and culture in Northern Australia. It was coordinated by the School of Australian Indigenous Knowledge Systems at Charles Darwin University and received funds from the Australian Research Council. The project developed solutions for institutions, Indigenous communities, published papers and developed software. Among other activities, the project developed a prototype digital systems that allows Indigenous communities to develop a collective memory. TAMI (Text, Audio, Movies and Images) is a database and file management system for IK developed specifically to take into consideration the needs of Australian Aboriginal communities. Interestingly they propose the use of Maps and navigation interfaces since IK is place based.

Links from this site:

There is a link to an animation of TAMI

There are many interesting papers such as:

Digital Technologies and Aboriginal Knowledge Practices

& Software for Educating Aboriginal Children about Place

There are several links to other sites.

Of interest is the link to the Aboriginal Mapping Network that helps Indigenous communities to protect and develop land based resources by using mapping tools.

November 7, 2009   No Comments

Warlpiri Media Association


The Warlpiri Media Association (WMA) is a community organization managed by locally elected Indigenous  peoples in Australia.  Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, work together to produce and broadcast local media for regional and national audiences.

Incorporating new technology into their productions, WMA has produced award winning media productions.   In the 1980s, before  television was accessible to remote areas in Australia, communities started to experiment with video production.  Yuendumu, a small community 300kms from Alice Springs,  is the birthplace of WMA.  The association served as a voice of concerns of Aboriginal people in the area regarding the launch of Australian owned satellite television.

WMA projects include:

Shout it Loud – a video about sexual abuse in Aboriginal communitites

Kula-nyampuju ngaju-nyangu – Aboriginal comedy video about the role of an interpreter in the court system

Darby – One hundred years of life in a changing culture

WMA logo [Online Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2009, from WMA website.

October 17, 2009   No Comments

Indigenous Archive Tool

mukurtu_browse_w400Mukurtu Wumpurrarni-kari Archive was created by the Warmungu community in Australia and is housed at the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture center.  It contains multimedia of cultural artifacts and documents.  The content is defined by parameters set my the Warumungu cultural protocols which set who can view and distribute the cultural knowledge.  This website contains information about the archive and  its future directions.

In the creation of the archive founding members communicating with:

Ara Irititja

Northern Territory Library


Plateau Center for American Indian Studies

In the future the group hopes to develop:

  • An audio component that allows audio tracks to be recorded on the fly and attached to content already in the database.
  • Mapping capabilities
  • Addition of public collections
  • Robust installation package
  • Production/remix functionality

Archive Image [Online Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2009, from Mukurtu Wumpurranri-kari website.

October 17, 2009   No Comments

Module 2 Entry #5

Creative Spirits

I came across this site linked to an actual Australian government website. I cruised through quite a bit of it before I actually worked my way back to the homepage. It was only then that I realized that this was a blog created by a non-Aboriginal. The following quote from the author really jumped out at me:

“I present Aboriginal culture in Australia from a different angle. While you can find many texts by white authors I like to involve Aboriginal authors, Aboriginal resources and even Aboriginal people themselves as much as possible.”

I’m quite confident that I would have noticed this statement in the past but after reading chapter four of the textbook and participating in the discussion threads I have to say I take issue with this. I’m curious to hear if others feel the same way.

October 16, 2009   No Comments

Weblog 2 Entry #4

Samson and Delilah an Australian film by Aboriginal director Warwick Thornton. I wanted to link this site as I have heard Thornton interviewed before. This film was nominated for an Academy Award in the Foreign Film category. Although it first appears as a basic trailer site as for any other movie I believe the links included make it worthy of a look. There is an interview where Thornton describes how the movie is based on real life experience and where he urges Australian to practice random acts of kindness.  

`Cinema is performance, that`s how us blackfellas have connected with it. It`s where we come from, with our storytelling. A lot of dreaming stories are about moral stories and news and teaching….that`s the way indigenous filmmakers are thinking.`Warwick Thornton.

October 15, 2009   No Comments

Indigenous Science Network Bulletin (M1-2)

In researching Aboriginal science education I stumbled upon the works of Australian science educator and writer Michael Michie.  Michie has assembled some great resources as well as founded the Indigenous Science Network Bulletin.  His work has focused mainly on Aboriginal Science Education and how best to integrate modern scientific views with traditional Australian Aboriginal teachings.  This bulletin has been in operation for over 12 years and contains a wealth of information in this area.

Michie has also collected many links in his research and was kind enough to categorize them for readers on a links page.  Although the list is not extensive and was last updated in 2006 the content is extensive and timeless.

Here is a list of some of Michie’s research.  Maybe some of it will be useful for those studying from an Australian or science perspective.

September 27, 2009   No Comments

Module #1 Weblog Entry #2

Mission Voices Website

Mission Voices Website is a project funded by the Australian Broadcasting Company and involves the Koorie Heritage Trust  and the State Library of Victoria. The premise of the site is to document the history of six Aboriginal missions and reserves in Victoria, Australia. This is a unique historical account as it includes the voices of the Koorie elders who recount their memories of mission and reservation  life. It is a moving experience which adds a new dimension to the study of history.

Included in the site are collaborative activities for both middle years and high school students. The goal of the activities seems to be to promote the idea of how Aboriginal missions and reserves have shaped the lives of all Australians-past and present.

The site is very powerful. However, one downside is the navigation-it seems awkward and disjointed which is disappointing as this site offers much for educators.

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Australia’s Culture Portal: Indigenous film (DGM Module 1-2)

This website is an official government portal to Australian Indigenous film, including a history of Indigenous film that weaves it closely to the developing intercultural dynamic from the silent film period of the 1920’s to present day. The history culminates in a reference to Ten Canoes (de Heer 2006), “Australia’s first feature film to be made entirely in an Aboriginal language (although narrated in English).”

An important inclusion on this page, and that of the Ten Canoes website (well-worth a visit) is the following warning: “This article may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Islander people now deceased. It also contains links to sites that may use images of Aboriginal and Islander people now deceased.”

According to McGrath and Philips (2007), it is a sign of respect to a deceased person not to use their first name, at least in direct reference to that person, for a period of up to several years. Eventually, the deceased’s name will often be used to name a new child in the family in order to maintain continuity in the family.

This Portal also contains links to many other useful resources related to Indigenous film in Australia, including similar sites, film sites, info about Indigenous filmmakers, and so on.

One aspect of this site that I find diminishes the status of Australian Indigenous film is that the government ministry responsible for this website is the Ministry of Culture and Recreation (my emphasis). While recreation, or play, may be a component of cultural activity, it seems disrespectful to put the two on an equal footing.


McGrath, P., & Phillips, E. (2007). Australian findings on aboriginal cultural practices associated with clothing, hair, possessions and use of name of deceased persons. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 14(1), 57-66. Retrieved from

September 20, 2009   No Comments