Indigenous partners in the Kimberley – a new guide for researchers

Advice from two dozen researchers with on-ground Kimberley experience has been integrated with input from around one hundred saltwater Traditional Owners and Indigenous Rangers to develop a protocol for researchers to engage and partner with Traditional Owners on Country.

The new draft research process is being developed within the WAMSI Kimberley Indigenous Saltwater Science project (KISSP).

Gina Lincoln from Mosaic Environmental Consultancy, recently gave an overview of the main process product being developed – ‘Collaborative Science on Kimberley Saltwater Country – A Guide for Researchers’, to a diverse group of managers, scientists and consultants at the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre in Perth.

Mrs Lincoln explained that the guide is being created to address shortfalls in the existing process and to provide some consistency to researchers embarking on Kimberley coastal and marine research projects.

“The draft Guide walks land and sea researchers through the process of undertaking research projects on country with Indigenous Kimberley saltwater people,” Mrs Lincoln said. “It explains the requirements of identifying the appropriate native title holders, engaging Traditional Owners and planning respectful research around natural & cultural resource management. The Guide is also a database of information, helping researchers learn about the people and Country and resources that may be available to support them as they plan for remote research.”


Proposed Kimberley Collaborative Research Cycle 17.02


The KISSP group described feedback from attendees at the presentation as positive, with useful insights being collected from a range of stakeholders.

“It was a clear and helpful presentation – and I like the draft document a lot, because of the combination of well-structured common sense for working with Aboriginal land managers and practical information about specific organisations,” one reviewer said.

The process presented within the Guide is open for review by science stakeholders until May 9th. The final draft will be considered for endorsement by the Indigenous governance body in each of the seven participating Kimberley saltwater communities over the following few months.

The guide for researchers is one of several KISSP products in development that will be made available to the science community before the end of the year.



Click here to download a pdf of the presentation slides.

WAMSI KMRP Kimberley Saltwater project page:


The $30 million Kimberley Marine Research Program is funded through major investment supported by $12 million from the Western Australian government’s Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy co-invested by the WAMSI partners and supported by the Traditional Owners of the Kimberley.


Kimberley Marine Research Program