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Gudanji For Country: wisdom for a better planet

Gudanji For Country is using Indigenous knowledge to address modern environmental issues.
Published 16 Feb 2024   |   3 min read

Working with an extensive range of researchers, Gudanji For Country is using indigenous knowledge to address modern environmental issues caused by mining, fracking and overgrazing.

The organisation is working with Gudanji women to establish a team of Western trained researchers to formulate a network of holistic knowledge, which combines Gudanji and Western thinking, to create an informed response to the climate emergency and fracking practice.

The knowledge Gudanji For Country surfaces through field work and narrative enquiry offers new information and understanding of the ways that Gudanji manage Country through long held cultural practices.

Why Gudanji For Country was selected for a 2023 Visionary Grant

We were attracted to Gudanii For Country because of the dual benefits of supporting the protection of cultural knowledge and sacred sites as well as safeguarding valuable carbon sinks. Furthermore, we believe the work will strengthen knowledge about the value of the area to potentially prevent further extractive fossil fuel projects.

This work directly supports the Gudanji womens' connection to Country they’ve cared for tens of thousands of years. This project showcases an innovative way of sharing cultures and two-way learning to create lasting environmental impact, as well as addressing fracking and agriculture's impacts.

Gudanji Women partaking in a ritual of their people

Gudanji For Country's work is about privileging voices of Aboriginal women who have an obligation to speak for the Marabana songline.


Through the Dreaming

“Our work is about privileging voices of Aboriginal women who have an obligation to speak for the Marabana songline. Gudanji women hold responsibilities and obligations to protect Country,” says Rikki Dank, Gudanji For Country’s director.

The Karanjini Rrumburriya clan of the Gudanji nation, which the organisation represents, are known as creation ancestors who travelled through the Dreaming and formed what is now the homelands of Gudanji, located on the Beetaloo Basin. They draw upon knowledge passed down through millennia, still held by the community today.

Gudanji For Country aims to utilise the combined expertise of its research team to demonstrate the important current relationships between the Gudanji people, non-human kin and Country.

“Through scientific research techniques we aim to demonstrate historical relationships, their importance in protecting Country and the threats faced as a result of Climate Change and climate-damaging industries,” Rikki says.

Gudanji For Country has been a functioning organisation for just over two years, but the group says it has been working at addressing these issues in other capacities over the last few decades.

Putting the Visionary Grant to good use

Already active in pursuing its vision and mission, engaging heavily with organisations within and outside of the environment sector as well as politicians at all levels, Rikki says Australian Ethical Foundation Visionary Grant will enable it to begin its research project without any further delays.

“If we had not been lucky enough to have been awarded the Visionary Grant, the actual commencement date of our project would have been delayed, our capacity to deliver all of the project outcomes would have been limited and our capacity to even undertake the project may have been compromised,” she says.

“We are now excitedly anticipating commencing our research project,” Rikki says.

“We see immense potential for our research, not only in the preservation of cultural heritage, but also in the sharing of this knowledge, protection of Country and the broader environment, and providing a blueprint and building block for future such projects around Australia.”


See all 2023 Visionary Grant recipients


Australian Ethical acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the country on which we work, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and recognise and celebrate their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and thank them for protecting Country since time immemorial.

See our Reconciliation Action Plan