Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Indigenous Geography of Disaster: two upcoming conference sessions

Kia ora koutou,
I’m organising two sessions on Indigenous Peoples and disasters…

Disaster Management Conference - Earth: Fire and Rain

Australian & New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference
Brisbane, 29th - 31st May 2013

Indigenous Insights on Disaster and Emergency Management

Threats to life, homes, businesses and the environment are ever present in the form of natural hazards. Indigenous Peoples possess great insight into these hazards with truly ancient wisdom accumulated through unique longitudinal studies evidenced by their successful occupation of their territories. Yet this knowledge has been almost universally marginalised through the processes of colonisation, epistemological racism, and a lack of capacity in the minimal research spaces that are available.

This session takes a first step in bringing this knowledge to the attention of disaster managers, first responders, researchers, policy makers and community leaders. We seek to collectivise our various experiences in mitigating the effects of disasters to the benefit of our own and other communities. We further wish to highlight reasons behind actual and perceived vulnerability of Indigenous communities and work towards improving their inherent resilience to recurring disasters.
Deadline: February 1st

Regional Conference of the International Geographical Union

‘Traditional Wisdom and Modern Knowledge for the Earth’s Future’

August 4-9, 2013, Kyoto, Japan


Indigenous responses to hazards and disaster: risk, recovery, and resilience

Recent disasters around the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire’ have emphasised the risks all inhabitants face from ever-present natural hazards and their recurring disasters. Several recent events stand out for the scale of destruction and the severity of disruption to affected communities: tsunamis in Japan (2011) and Samoa (2009), and a series of earthquakes in Christchurch (2010-11). Climate change is expected to exacerbate flooding and bushfire hazards in Australia and sea-level rise remains a daunting challenge for the Pacific Islands.

Indigenous communities often find themselves more at risk to such hazards through histories of marginalisation, discrimination and poverty despite these communities possessing extensive knowledge of local hazards and maintaining collective memories of past disasters. This session aims to bring together aspects of Indigenous knowledge relevant to reducing exposure and surviving disasters. Contemporary experiences will also be examined for response and recovery approaches. Particular attention will be drawn to the increasing urbanisation of Indigenous communities, which exposes them to new and emerging risks, and how resilience to future disasters might be improved.

Deadline: January 15th

Any questions and queries, email me at

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Simon Lambert

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