5 Indigenous engineering feats you should know about

Sat, 8 Apr 2023 13:01:45 +1000

Andrew Pam <xanni [at] glasswings.com.au>

Andrew Pam

"For many millennia, Indigenous Australians have engineered the landscape using
sophisticated technological and philosophical knowledge systems in a deliberate
response to changing social and environmental circumstances.

These knowledge systems integrate profound understanding of Country, bringing
together an understanding of the topography and geology of the landscape, its
natural cycles and ecological systems, its hydrological systems and its natural
resources, including fauna and flora. This has enabled people to manage
resources sustainably and reliably.

Engineering is about process, and the process of engineering was very different
in Australia before the English colonised the land. However, when our
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students take the step into engineering,
or other STEM subjects, there is little material provided that relates to their
experience or their peoples’ technical and management knowledge. This is a
result of historic denial of the First Nations of Australia as enduring
scientific and technical civilisations.

The versatility and minimalist nature of Aboriginal technology designs are
inspiring. The flexibility and artistry in tool manufacture, which can differ
in neighbouring communities, is a salient lesson for engineers now. Some key
aspects of this approach can be seen through five examples of ingenious
Indigenous engineering."

       *** Xanni ***
mailto:xanni@xanadu.net               Andrew Pam
http://xanadu.com.au/                 Chief Scientist, Xanadu
https://glasswings.com.au/            Partner, Glass Wings
https://sericyb.com.au/               Manager, Serious Cybernetics

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