• The Dark Science series on NITV takes us to the Northern Territory to meet those who are keeping culture and ancient scientific knowledge alive. (NITV)Source: NITV
When modern scientists learn about the meteorological, astronomical and geographical knowledge that has been passed down in Aboriginal culture, they are often surprised at the accuracy. Now a new program sheds light on Indigenous knowledges from across the Top End.
By
Emily Nicol

6 Jul 2016 - 6:46 PM  UPDATED 6 Jul 2016 - 6:46 PM

The Dark Science series takes us to the Northern Territory to meet unique custodians who share their stories about how they are carrying on ancient tradition as they care for country, how this scientific knowledge has been passed along and why it is so important. 

"This story is very old. This is how our old people lived. This is how we Yolngu live" - Gumitj Elder

Yirritja Rain

 

In 'Yirritja Rain' by Andrew Galitju Barurrwaŋa we meet a Gumitj man from the Yirritja clan in Yolngu country who shares an ancient story and song of the wet season. As misty rain and fog envelops the land we learn how the Balkurrk rain comes to be.

 LP Rangers

"Healthy land means healthy living" - LP Ranger

We visit the 'LP Rangers' who work in some of the most remote parts of the country  with traditional landowners to manage the land and gather data on species and weather patterns. The rangers have been working closely with the CSIRO, fusing modern and ancient practices, and have documented some of the more damaging effects of less rain but stronger storms.  The rangers also share their knowledge with the younger generation so that they will be able to detect changes in water quality, weather patterns and bush tucker which may begin to lose it's potency when the land is not cared for properly. 

A Life of Learning Two Ways

 "I learnt from my grandfather, and now i also work with scientists" -Veronica Perurrle Dobson AM

Veronica Perurrle Dobson AM, Aboriginal scholar, grew up walking Eastern Arrente country with her family who hold Ulampe (rain making), Utnerregatye (sacred caterpillar) and other totemic lines. In 'A life of Learning Two Ways' we see how she is trying to preserve her knowledge and language for generations to come and the struggles that she faces in the era of modernisation. Working with scientists she passes on as much knowledge as she can before it is lost forever. 

Widijtih

"I knew if Bolong had come then Dharrpa would too. Dharrpa lives to the South west of Bolong.  He rose like a flaming snake and worked with Bolong." - Gurrduwinga Ranger, Bulmaniya 

When Cyclone Lam, the strongest storm since 2006 hit the Northern Territory, a remarkable thing happened once it moved towards Ramingining. In 'Widitjih' we meet Bulmaniya, from the Barlgnurra clan who works as a  Gurrduwinga ranger, caring for country. He recalls the unique circumstances that brought Bolong- rainbow serpent - and Dharrpa - king brown snake - together, which usually only happens in ceremony,  to dissipate the ferocity of the super storm and deliver an important message. 

 

Catch all of these episodes and learn more about Aboriginal science when the 'Dark Science' series premieres on NITV 6th July at 8pm.