The Nature of the Aboriginal Sustainability Network (ASN)
The Aboriginal Sustainability Network (ASN), initially, links five aboriginal communities in four countries. The project is investigating the potential of a workshop-based, Internet-supported network for the exchange of knowledge and strategies amongst communities working to develop environmental sustainability. The ASN was developed to facilitate the exchange of diverse knowledge and experience, in order to add value to the capacity building efforts for sustainable development in participating aboriginal communities.
A series of workshops was held in May 2007 in three Tsou communities and two Taroko communities in Taiwan. Ten days later a second series of workshops was held in two Unama’ki Mi’kmaq communities in eastern Canada. Representatives–or in the case of the Ngarrindjeri, a community member–of the participating aboriginal nations alternately hosted and attended workshops, which were facilitated by Dr Bill Hipwell and three “associate investigators”. The communities shared their various approaches to environmentally sustainable socio-economic development, including ecotourism, inclusion of Traditional Knowledge, GIS-based resource management, watershed charters, political activism and legal claims to territorial sovereignty.
Participating Aboriginal Nations
So far, the following nations have taken part in and/or hosted ASN workshops:
- Tsou of Taiwan
- Taroko of Taiwan
- Unama’ki Mi’kmaq of Canada
- Ngāti Hauiti iwi of Auteaora/New Zealand
In addition, a community member from the Ngarrindjeri of South Australia took part in workshops in Taiwan, and had editorial input on the first ASN joint publication mentioned below.
History and Support
The ASN was founded in 2005 by Bill Hipwell at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
The ASN is generously supported by Research Grant #RG004-P-05 from the Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences and the VUW Faculty of Science have kindly provided further funding for travel and research assistance.
The ASN could not function with the support of the participating communities, as well as the following Associate Investigators:
Dr. Chen Yi-fong (Project Co-Director)
Professor Chi Chun-Chieh
Dr. Scott Simon
The first scholarly publication generated by the ASN is:
Hipwell, W. T., J. Y. Battiste, Y.-F. Chen, C.-C. Chi, P. Johnson, S. Simon, and I. Tadaw (2008) The Aboriginal Sustainability Network: Post-Workshop Report. Taiwan Journal of Indigenous Studies 1 (1), 107-167.
Further joint publications are planned
Purpose of this Site
This web-site is intended as a virtual “community of practice”, a place where aboriginal communities can exchange knowledge and strategies for cultural survival and sustainable development.
Expressions of Interest
Aboriginal (indigenous) nations from around the world are welcome to contact the project team to discuss joining the ASN.