Luke West reflects on the Indigenous Conversations in Science Conference

The trip to the National Environmental Science Program conference on Indigenous conversations in science was a very poignant one. I have learnt much about problems that Indigenous people and communities are facing in modern science, but also it has allowed me to reflect on how, as a young Palawa man, I am able to help my own communities in the face of these issues.

I have learnt plenty from the Indigenous speakers who I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time listening to, both on stage and off. From these people, who serve as role models for Aboriginal people coming into the sciences, I learned about my responsibilities as an Aboriginal man, with respect to knowledge sharing and ensuring my community can be properly represented in the scientific studies.

This trip has impassioned me about ensuring Indigenous science is shared with both young Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, this is so all Australians can recognise the contributions Aboriginal knowledge has to science, as well as show young Aboriginal people that they have a place in modern science.

I have also gained valuable contacts through the trip that have lead to a number of opportunities already being opened up to me in the past week. From joining a ‘Science Delivery’ roadshow team where I have been asked to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into the show that will be visiting rural schools with high Indigenous populations, to an interview, to being asked to join an international tour of some of the world’s most prestigious universities.

I have many thanks to give to all the people that made this trip possible for me, as I have undoubtedly gained knowledge and connections that will continue to serve me for my career.

Luke West is a 1st year Bachelor of Science student who was funded by a gift from Agilent to attend National Science Week at Questacon, Canberra which hosted the National Environmental Science Program's Indigenous panel on scientific knowledge and practice on August 15th 2018.