The Nulungu Way

The Nulungu Way guides how we work. It is founded in Kimberley Aboriginal traditions of respect and recognition of ownership of Country, Indigenous Knowledge, continuing cultural practice and well defined cultural governance. The Nulungu Way respects traditions of the past that underpin contemporary community actions to create a better future for the people of the Kimberley and beyond. Nulungu’s mission is to work with ‘Right People, Right Country, Right Way.’

Right People refers to respect for Indigenous knowledge owned by specific individuals, family groups, language groups, communities and community based organisations. Right Country refers to respect for traditional ownership, cultural governance and guardianship of Indigenous Knowledge, understanding that Country is central to the lives of the communities we work with. Right Way refers to the way we work with communities. It is underpinned by the following:

  • open and transparent negotiation and mutual understanding with free and informed consent as the foundation of any research;
  • ongoing communication, discussion and consultation, so that research activities respond to community priorities and research methods are reviewed and revised as needed;
  • regular reporting to community and other partners in ways that are appropriate for all groups with priority being given to Aboriginal community groups and organisations with respect to appropriate project outcomes relevant to Aboriginal communities;
  • recognising the diversity, but also the uniqueness of individuals and communities that we work with to ensure that research results are for the benefit of Aboriginal peoples;
  • clearly defined recognition and respect for Indigenous knowledge and intellectual property, with priority given to Aboriginal community ownership and direction;
  • employing Aboriginal researchers as a priority within Nulungu and within the communities we work with on all projects, as well as involving communities as research collaborators;
  • placing community benefit above all other goals of research and ensuring that use of any research and access to any research results are clearly agreed ahead of any research activity;
  • negotiating formal research agreements based on good faith and with free, prior and informed consent making sure that communication is appropriate to each community group or language group with whom we are working;
  • understanding that cultural obligations surrounding Law, Business and other cultural responsibilities to family and community will take priority for the peoples we work with and being flexible and responsive to these needs;
  • ensuring social justice informs our practice at all times so as to ensure appropriate effort is maintained throughout all research that involves communities who may be responding to issues of social trauma and impacts of colonisation and assimilation; and
  • ethical clearance by The University of Notre Dame Australia's Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) as well as all other appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Protocols and approvals processes implemented by the peoples with whom we work.

The Nulungu Way is based on relationships of trust, openness, respect and recognition of Indigenous rights, values, culture and governance and upholding values of social justice. It is also informed by the following key research guidelines; The National Statement on Ethical Conduct on Human ResearchAIATSIS Guidelines for Ethical Research; NHMRC Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research ; and the Kimberley Land Council Research Protocol.