"Review: The First Astronomers: How Indigenous Elders Read the Stars - Duane
Hamacher, with Elders and Knowledge Holders (Allen & Unwin)
Duane Hamacher’s The First Astronomers
explores the deep and living star
knowledge of First Nations people from around the world – and challenges the
notion that Indigenous knowledge is not scientific.
This magnificent book is the latest in a growing body of work showcasing
Indigenous knowledge of the natural world.
It follows other popular texts, including Bill Gammage’s The Biggest Estate on
(2011), Bruce Pascoe’s widely debated and important Dark Emu
Australia’s First Naturalists
(2019) by Penny Olsen and Lynette Russell, and
the First Knowledges
series edited by Margo Neale.
Astrophysicist Hamacher has been guided by Elders and Knowledge Holders Ghillar
Michael Anderson, Segar Passi, John Barsa, David Bosun, Ron Day and Alo Tapim.
This book developed from a collaboration with Torres Strait Islander scholar
Professor Martin Nakata, a leading authority on the intersection of Indigenous
and Western ways of knowing.
It’s stunning in scope, impressive in detail and accessible in style. For
readers with no background in astronomy (like me), terms are clearly explained.
Importantly, Hamacher reflects on what he is learning throughout, demonstrating
his willingness to listen and learn. His example reminded me to reflect on my
own assumptions about different ways of knowing."
Share and enjoy,
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics