November 8-15 marks NAIDOC week in 2020. NAIDOC week celebrates the history, culture, contributions and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. There are NAIDOC week events being run all over Australia. Many events are happening online, making it easier to jump online and get involved.
This year’s NAIDOC theme is ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’, acknowledging the occupation and connection to country by First Nations people for over 80,000 years, and learning about that history. ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ also gestures to a future in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are celebrated for their generations of accumulated knowledge of this country.
In the spirit of making Aboriginal and Torres Strait achievements and innovations more visible, this post is a collection of some of the Indigenous-led organisations developing, building, and utilising technology in ways that benefit First Nations people, and for social benefit generally*.
Founded by Cabrogal Woman, Mikaela Jade from the Dharug-speaking Nations of Sydney in 2014, Indigital is Australia’s first Indigenous Edu-tech company, specialising technology development and digital skills training in augmented and mixed realities, artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things and geospatial technologies. Indigital’s mission is to close the digital divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, by providing a meaningful pathway for Indigenous people into the digital economy and the creation of future technologies. Together, we can use digital technologies to express 80,000 years of human knowledge for generations to come.
Founded in 2017, Indigitek is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to increase the participation and success of Indigenous people in the tech industry. Indigitek is made up of a community of passionate Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people who are continuing a proud tradition of 80,000 years of innovation and entrepreneurship in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Founded in 2016 by Palawa woman Angie Abdilla, Old Ways, New applies Indigenous design principles to the development of technologies for places, spaces and experiences. Our process incorporates the most aligned elements of systems thinking, regenerative design, design thinking, UX and interaction design and futuring techniques - to deliver culturally, socially and environmentally sustainable technologies.
Established in 1980, CfAT supports people in regional and remote Australia in the choices they make in order to maintain their relationship with country. Maintaining a relationship with country may include a desire to live on country, visit country, develop country for economic benefit or protect country. We achieve this by providing solutions to infrastructure challenges that people face in maintaining their relationship with country, primarily: reliable power, water supply, digital connectivity, built infrastructure, training and skills development. Through their unique knowledge of and engagement with remote people and place, CfAT deliver practical, integrated project design, technical innovation, training and infrastructure products and services – supporting livelihoods and growth in economic opportunities across remote areas.
Headed up by 2018 ACT Australian of the Year, Dion Devow, Indigimation uses cutting-edge, cognitive technologies to unlock value in businesses of all sizes. With professional design methods we help define where the repetitive, mundane and low value machine tasks can be eliminated so your people can focus on the high value human parts of their jobs. They redesign the way you work and streamline tasks, activities and processes using Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA is an emerging set of technologies that is driven by the recent advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) Initiative was co-founded and designed by the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) and the Telstra Foundation in 2013 to unlock digital world opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Across Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are combining the sophistication of traditional knowledge with breakthrough 21st century technology to strengthen connection to culture and improve wellbeing.The IDX Initiative seeks to inspire, build and connect the next generation of Indigenous entrepreneurs and digital makers through sustainable community led programs and collaborations.
*Note that content has been copied or paraphrased from the organisations’ websites