For Teachers

Learning from Burarra Gathering

Burarra Gathering: Sharing Indigenous Knowledge presents some of the traditional knowledge and technologies used by the Burarra ('bur-ah-da') people of the central north Arnhem Land region of Australia. This knowledge includes a detailed understanding of the natural world and how to live in it. It provides an intricate picture of the relationships that link people, all living things, the weather systems and the land.

The land of the Burarra people is about 120 km (75 mi) by road east of the Maningrida township and about 530 km (330 mi) east of Darwin. It lies 12° south of the Equator on the floodplains and estuaries of the Blyth and Cadell Rivers. The area includes savannah grasslands, eucalyptus rain forest and tidal mud flats and has a wet-dry monsoonal climate.

Traditional Knowledge

Australian Indigenous knowledge is part of a complex system of ecological understandings and spiritual relationships with the land. While Indigenous knowledge is many thousands of years old, and varied across Australia, the lifestyle practices are contemporary, living and continuously adapting. Observation, problem-solving skills and innovative thinking are essential to these activities and understandings.

The Online Exhibition Experience

This online experience includes two stories in which your students can take part. These stories simulate a visit to Danaja, a young Burarra man, in the Wet and Dry Seasons. The stories include four aspects of traditional Burarra life that are a part of contemporary knowledge – identifying animal tracks, trapping fish, navigating using the stars and making fire.

Complimentary Online Teaching Resources

It is a good introduction for students to a wide range of units of study including Australia and its people, Indigenous People, Appropriate Technologies, or a more cultural study. The stories do not explore in-depth other aspects of Indigenous culture such as societal structures, family relationships or belief systems. However many of the suggested resources are excellent resources for wider cultural aspects of Indigenous Australians.

The Burarra Gathering online exhibition teacher resources are: