Dean's Keynote Series: September 2021. Professor Gawaian Bodkin-Andrews, Director of Indigenous Research, Western Sydney University

Resisting the Colonial Dichotomies? Critical Indigenous Studies, Indigenous Storywork and the D’harawal Story of the Yandel’ora Wiritjiribin (the Lyrebird and the Lands of Peace between Peoples) - click here to view the recording

Professor Gawaian Bodkin-Andrews, Director of Indigenous Research, Western Sydney University


Worldwide, Indigenous Storytelling and Storywork methodologies are becoming increasingly recognised as not only an effective tool for research, teaching, and critical inquiry within academia, but also as a key source of strength for resisting dominant and oppressive colonial narratives and practices that distort (and erase) traditional and contemporary Indigenous Knowledges and values. Drawing on research emanating from the ARC Indigenous Discovery project Shielding our Futures: Storytelling with Ancestral and Living Knowledges (and in partnership with the D’harawal Traditional Descendants and Knowledge Holders Circle ) this presentation will focus on the intersecting foundations of Critical Indigenous Studies (Moreton-Robinson, 2015; Tuhiwai Smith, 2005; Walter, 2018), Indigenous Storywork (Archibald, 2008), its interface with a developing/reviving Tribal Research Methodology (Kovach, 2009) of D’harawal Garuwanga Waduguda (D’harawal Ancestral Storytelling – Bodkin, 2013). In doing so this presentation will not only outline the emerging values and protocols of D’harawal Storytelling as committed to through Circle Yarning, but will also reveal the wisdoms and complexities found within a D’harawal Ancestral Story highlighting the conflict resolution practices of the Lyrebird (an Ancestral totem for inland D’harawal peoples). From this, it is hoped that the simplistic colonial either/or dichotomies (e.g., Indigenous or not, authentic-or-not, Country ownership) will be meaningfully critiqued from the respectful standpoints of Indigenous Relatedness (Martin, 2008) and connections to Country.


Professor Gawaian Bodkin-Andrews is a D’harawal man raised (and connected to) on Bidigal (bitter water) and Nattaimattagal (sweet water) Country. As a scholar, Prof Bodkin-Andrews’ research encapsulates and promotes Aboriginal Australian standpoints and perspectives across a diversity of disciplines (most notably education and psychology). He has been a chief investigator for numerous research grants examining a diversity of topics including, mental health, mentoring, identity, Traditional Knowledges and Storytelling, Indigenous-centered statistics, education, racism, and bullying. He has over 60 refereed publications (including two edited books), and supervised to completion six PhD students (three Aboriginal Australian). He has also represented university and community organisations on a range of Indigenous initiatives, including the 2018 ARC ERA evaluation, the 2021 ARC college of experts, the Steering Commitee for the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children, the Indigenous Working Group for the ARC Engagement and Impact review, National Indigenous Researchers and Knowledge Holders Network, assisting the D'harawal Traditional Descendants and Knowledge Holders Circle with a range of community activities (e.g., ‘Two cultures martial arts’, Indigenous medicinal gardens, local government negotiations and development), and developing university responses to the revised AIATSIS code of ethics, and the ANZRC Review. In addition, he is currently a member of Maiam nayri Wingara Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Data Sovereignty Group, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, the D’harawal Traditional Descendants and Knowledge Holders Circle.

Man smiling at camera

Date and time

From: 03:30 PM Tuesday, September 28, 2021 To: 05:00 PM Tuesday, September 28, 2021