Walking between Two Paradigms

01st June 2008

Bettyann Doyle

BA(Hons), School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, June 2007

In this thesis I examine Barada people’s dilemma of ‘walking between two paradigms’ when recording and documenting their cultural landscapes. Owing to legislative requirements, Barada are forced to identify with and embrace Western processes of recording cultural landscapes (rigid lines marking individual ownership) as opposed to their Indigenous concepts of boundaries (fluid and identified by Dreaming tracks). Barada Barna Kabalbara Yetimarla (BBKY) is a Geographical Information System tool used by Barada in Central Queensland. I examine whether the BBKY GIS software differs from generic Western-designed and operated GIS software and whether BBKY meets the needs of its Indigenous users and, if so, who holds control and power over these mapping processes. Semi-structured interviews with Barada are used to explore tensions in recording Barada cultural landscapes and are analysed in the context of recent debates about Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous cultural heritage management. A pattern emerges demonstrating that although archaeologists and researchers from other disciplines use GIS for recording landscape boundaries, there are problems in this approach for Barada owing to the fact that it is difficult to digitise narrative and the fact that Indigenous landscapes do not exhibit rigid boundaries. I discuss the continuum of control that Barada have in mapping their cultural landscape and argue that BBKY sits at the intersection between two knowledge systems. Finally, I argue that BBKY as a tool enhances Barada’s control and power over their cultural heritage.

Bettyann Doyle
Walking between Two Paradigms
June 2008
66
83-84
Thesis Abstracts
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