First Australians: Building comm-unity online through activism and Web 2.0


This paper reviews a selection of published scholarly articles concerning the uptake and use of Web 2.0 technologies by Indigenous Australians to fight for Indigenous rights. This paper also reviews various websites and social media sites where Indigenous Australians’ connect with each other, express their political viewpoint, exercise resistance, and advocate for Indigenous rights. The paper follows Indigenous Australians’ advocacy and activism and how online and offline activities converge and support their overall political and social movements. It explores how the pursuit of these common causes collaboratively and collectively through weak ties via modern mediating technologies, to rally support and unity, enhances Indigenous communications, generates solidarity and strengthens Indigenous community ties. This paper concludes that Web 2.0 has strengthened ties in online Indigenous communities by facilitating their engagement in social and political movements that advocate Indigenous rights.


by Alice Kullrich

Student, Curtin University

School of Media Creative Arts & Social Inquiry


Author Note

          Alice Kullrich, Student, Curtin University

          NET204 Social Media Communities & Networks – SP1 2018

          Conference Paper

          Correspondence concerning this conference paper should be addressed to Alice Kullrich, Student, Curtin University, School of Media Creative Arts & Social Inquiry, email




Advocacy, colonialisation, community, cyber-activism,

Indigeneity, Indigenous Australians, Indigenous rights,

online activism, social capital, social movements,

social networking, weak ties / strong ties, Web 2.0 technologies



First Australians: Building comm-unity online through activism and Web 2.0


First Australians have experienced inequalities and inequities since colonialisation. Reductive and abusive treatment ranging from segregation and family separation to forced assimilation, lack of recognition as Australia’s First people, land rights issues, life expectancy disparity with the rest of Australia, poverty, lack of education and proper health care, are but a starting point of their ongoing struggle. First Australians’ long battle for recognition, rights, apology, social justice and equity, has fueled activism and social movements over time, by way of communications via the conventional Indigenous grapevine through to modern day information and communication technologies (ICTs). AIATSIS (n.d.) informs that the first Indigenous political organisations were formed in the 1920s which heralded the modern movement for Indigenous rights in Australia. More recently, Indigenous groups have been using social media to break the colonial cycle (Duarte & Belarde-Lewis, 2015, p.688). The Internet and Web 2.0 has provided access to a broader audience of potential supporters for Indigenous rights and freedoms. Soriano (2012, pp.39-40) talks of online spaces providing Indigenous people with opportunity for communication, broader reach to international audiences, ability to attract attention to their causes and claims, as well as recognition for and assertion of their cultural identity and history. More importantly, the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies have improved communications across geographically isolated and disparate Indigenous communities. Further,

Web 2.0 supports oral communications. This is important because oral communication, ‘yarning’, is an integral element of Indigenous culture in Australia.

In this way, Web 2.0 provides Indigenous Australians access to a compatible, inclusive online environment. Yarn Australia ( and its extensions, promote and facilitate conversations using Web 2.0 technologies. Wellman & Gulia state that Web 2.0 and the Internet combines “the rapid dissemination of mass media with the persuasiveness of personal communications” (1999, p.7). This facilitates networking, so that First Australians themselves are able to collectively and more effectively ‘rattle the cage’ to achieve progress for their people. This ability to perform collective activism through mediated technologies reinforces solidarity and promotes community ties. Web 2.0 has strengthened ties in online Indigenous communities by facilitating their engagement in social and political movements that advocate Indigenous rights.

Despite significant improvements in communication technologies, there has been a slower response to these technologies on the part of Indigenous Australians in remote regions. This is due in part to unreliable services because of geographic remoteness, together with associated high costs of providing these services and technologies to remote areas, and also partly because of low ICT literacy, language barriers and Indigenous concerns about cultural ownership rights. Dyson explains that Indigenous populations have experienced exclusion and access difficulties resulting from a complex mix of socioeconomic, geographic and language factors (2011, p.256). Notwithstanding these barriers, as technologies have reduced in cost, and services to remote locations in Australia have improved, uptake of these technologies has occurred in isolated Indigenous communities. As Web 2.0 accommodates language diversity, Indigenous populations are drawn to it. In fact, Dyson points to a range of Indigenous language revival programs in Australia facilitated through the use of Web 2.0 technologies (2011, p.263). Indigenous youth particularly are drawn to Web 2.0’s multi-media technologies. According to Dreher, McCallum & Waller, Indigenous Australians have become very active social media users (2016, p.29). In support of this, these scholars cite recent statistical evidence that Facebook enjoys an active uptake by 73% of Australia’s Indigenous population compared to 62% of the general Australian population (2016, p.29). Frazer & Carlson provide a recent estimation that Indigenous Australians’ overall use of social media is 20% higher than other Australians (2017, p.4). Clearly, Indigenous Australians are using Web 2.0 technologies to connect and communicate online.

Indigenous Australians are attracted to Web 2.0 technologies like multi-media and video for their online communication as these technologies accommodate their oral traditions and minimize language and literacy barriers. Petray agrees saying, “certain forms of Web 2.0 … do not require extensive literacy skills and privilege the oral culture that Aboriginal society is founded on” (2011, p.936). YouTube ( and Vimeo ( are prime examples of support for the playing out of Indigenous oral culture through Web 2.0 technologies. These sites afford the ability to record and disseminate voices and motion online through the use of multi-media tools. These technologies are used by Indigenous Australians to share and network via social media sites, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram using hashtags such as #sixtythousand, and also via blogs (see Leesa Watego’s list of Aboriginal bloggers (, and websites such as Stayin’ on Track ( where Indigenous dads share their experiences of fatherhood. Indigenous Australians are communicating and linking to one another through Web 2.0 technologies, and increasing their online presence.

Whilst Web 2.0 and the Internet help Indigenous people to connect to each other, to build community, it is important that identity is established to verify belonging and inclusion. Proof of Indigeneity is a requisite of entry into the real world of Indigenous communities in Australia” (Lumby, 2010, p.71). However online, imposters can be disguised and protected through anonymity and pseudonymity, and as such can perform misrepresentation of identity. Cyber-performance is a common phenomenon, and online performance and identity formation does not in itself represent deliberate mischief or concealment per se, but is a normal part of self-presentation, self-expression and personalisation. Indigenous Australians themselves, use avatars for their profile pictures, just like many people online, to express self and identity.

Avatars are beneficial in resisting prejudice and bias, and therefore have an equalizing effect.

Indeed, the use of avatars in social media profiles rather than actual photographic images may well align with cultural sensitivities related to Indigenous customs in Australia connected to the passing of Indigenous people. Papacharissi says that Facebook is relatively loosely-structured and flexible, which enables freer self-presentation (p.215). Self-presentation is typically done in relation to others, such as ‘Friends’, rather than in isolation. As social media sites are spaces where many people from diverse provenance converge, it can become a minefield of ‘context collision’ where one is judged by their undiluted performances of self which are open to interpretation by a mixed audience and will likely be confusing and revealing all at once, affecting one’s reputation. Many random and isolated pieces of information aggregate over time to form a real-and-telling story. Thompson says that these “little snippets coalesce into a surprisingly sophisticated portrait of [you], your friends and family” (2008, para.16). Online identiity can be examined and authenticated through ‘Profiles’ and ‘Friends’ lists. Because ‘Friends’ lists denote associations, one can be judged by who they know, for better or worse. Papacharissi explains that social media profiles and displayed connections present information that can be assessed by onlookers to ascertain whether the profile is credible and reliable (2009, p.202). So, falsehoods can be uncovered. Lumby warns that faking-it online can generate penalties (2010, p.74). Indigenous Australians have their own set of cultural cues and codes by which to identify Indigeneity and assess credibility and belonging. This is nuanced and involves cultural signifiers. Lumby explains that performance of Indigeneity is necessary for the subject position to be taken seriously, and for recognition to occur in a meaningful way, and the performance requires knowledge of the terrain” (2010, p.71). Once identity, belonging and trust is ascertained, weak ties have the potentiality to develop into stronger ties. Weak and strong ties between individuals establish community.

Community ties are formed through communication and co-operation. Katz, Rice, Acord, Dasgupta & David say that community relates to being in a common space and time (2004, p.310). Therefore, participatory websites, blogs and social media sites provide “a public space with potential for building or enlarging the sense of belonging to a community” (Lumby, 2010, p.69). Common themes and interests encourage participation. Examples of this include Yarn Australia’s ‘Sixty Thousand’ Facebook and Instagram pages and the ‘Blackfulla Revolution’ Facebook pages, as well as websites like Creative Spirits ( and ANTaR ( These spaces support Indigeneity and communication, and can forge a sense of community. Australia’s Indigenous community benefit from the communicative and collaborative offerings of the Internet and Web 2.0. Through these means they are able to exercise their social and political actions in solidarity, and in so doing enhance their online community ties.

Community is represented by ties of mixed strengths along a continuum. Online, community is not constrained by geography or limited by physicality. Ties can be latent or active. Strong ties are typically limited in quantity per person and are represented by close mutual connection between trusted friends/family, generally involving frequent contact. Steinkuehler & Williams define strong ties as exclusive and represent bonding social capital (2006, para.36). Contrastingly, weak or tenuous ties are represented by more casual relationships, such as acquaintances/contacts. These tenuous ties can be numerous and due to online media, have exponentiated in recent times. Whilst these links are weak, the number of connections and density of exchanges are substantial (Aguiton & Cardon, 2007, p.54). Steinkuehler & Williams define weak ties as inclusive and represent bridging social capital (2006, para.36). Bridging social capital created by weak ties is particularly conducive to online dynamics. According to Ridings & Gefen, people participate in online communities to gain social support, knowledge and information exchange from broader expertise than exists in their usual social circles, which is a valuable resource in online communities due to weak ties (2004, para.27). Weak ties facilitate information transfer and this is greatly accentuated online. So, mediating technologies can mean dramatic upscaling. The #hashtag, for instance, expands the conversation and the audience. Small contributions by many participants creates a granular effect (Aguiton & Cardon, 2007, p.57). This can render an impressive, dynamic outcome. As such, online media are a strong platform for activism and drumming up support for social causes.

Engagement in Indigenous advocacy and activism online, can strengthen community ties within online Indigenous communities. Katz et al. believe that solidarity is essential for community formation, and the Internet can be a useful resource for solidarity (2004, p.308) and that much more can be accomplished as a community than any aggregate of individual action (p306). Community and solidarity is strengthened through participatory Web 2.0 technologies. According to Aguiton & Cardon, Web 2.0 introduces horizontal connections and co-operation (2007, p.58).

The ability to mobilize weak ties is Web 2.0’s strength.

Because Web 2.0 presents a world of horizontal connections, it sidelines traditional hierarchical and authoritative communication structures. Katz et al. explain that “online interactions and their feeling of community are amplified by their ability to bypass authority and experience horizontal equality, as well as devise their own rules” (2004, pp.344-5). For Indigenous Australians, tapping into their community across geographic boundaries and strengthening ties with those with shared lived experience, away from the interference of government, is empowering and liberating. This form of communication eliminates the need to function within the confines of the power structures of those they are fighting against. This alternative delivers autonomy, freedom from powerlessness and misrepresentation through distortion of meaning. Web 2.0 then, stacks up to be a good fit for Indigenous people to stage their resistance to colonialism. Social movement, activism and protests that empower Indigenous people can be faster, more effective and more easily achieved, when organised horizontally through the auspices of social media networks and the Internet. People are more likely to share information that is relevant and important to them, expanding its dissemination. This can be simply advertising social events, or fighting for rights. This is witnessed on social media using hashtags such as #sixtythousand and #sosblakaustralia. Harnessing the power of Web 2.0 to support and enhance offline activism can lead to greater effectiveness through a larger network of active supporters. “Web 2.0 has the potential to democratize and decentralize large social Movements” (Petray, 2011, p.936). Cyber-activism using Web 2.0 technologies allows Indigenous Australians opportunity to connect to their community based on themes of common and mutual interest, and along the way, create and develop stronger, more enduring relational ties online.

Numerous rally cries and protests have been staged by Indigenous Australians to tackle issues of concern, such as black deaths in custody, Indigenous land rights – The Tent Embassy, Native title – Mabo, the 1965 ‘Freedom Ride’ campaign, the ‘Stolen Generations’ – Bringing them Home, protesting colonisation – Day of Mourning, to name a few. Some movements have been published online such as ‘Recognise’ ( which is a top down, well-funded corporate sponsored campaign. Its youth campaign ‘RecogniseThis’ operates through Facebook. Also, #sosblakaustralia ( is an ongoing grassroots, community level campaign supported by donations. Dreher, McCallum & Waller indicate that “online communications have been vital to building solidarity networks and mobilizing support” (2016, p.34). A very recent protest ‘StolenWealth Games Brisbane April 2018’ appears on the ‘Blackfulla Revolution’ Facebook page ( Web 2.0 provides new opportunities for Indigenous protest.

Social media and Web 2.0 provide opportunity for new forms of political and social expression, and performance of collective action. Internet memes are an example of Web 2.0 innovation used for this purpose. Frazer & Carlson anticipate that memes may represent new ways for Indigenous Australians to engage in activism (2017, p.5). Memes proliferated on the Facebook page, ‘Blackfulla Revolution’ between 2012 and 2016. Resistance memes created by Indigenous activists and disseminated on social media have been catalysts for greater awareness, engagement and deeper scrutiny into the concerns and issues of Indigenous Australia (Welcome to Country, 2017). According to Dreher, McCallum & Waller, Indigenous Australians are actively using emerging technological resources in the online environment to voice their concerns and to effect change (2016, p.34).

Web 2.0 and social media are important for activists to progress their movement, but of significance beyond this, are the relationships they negotiate and community they establish through its use (Petray, 2013, p.16).

Social actions performed through Web 2.0 contribute to the development of stronger online Indigenous community ties.


Indigenous Australians have endured inequality and reductive experiences since colonisation. For almost a hundred years Indigenous Australians have fought against inequities and humiliations through the establishment of formal Indigenous political organisations and activism, seeking apology, fair treatment, reconciliation, respect and rights. More recently, through the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies, Indigenous Australians have been able to extend their reach to connect with each other easily and expediently. Web 2.0 and mediating technologies increase information dissemination via weak ties. Despite a slower uptake of these technologies in Indigenous communities due to geographic, cultural and other barriers, Indigenous Australians now engage with these technologies more broadly. These technologies complement and are compatible with Indigenous Australians’ cultural and everyday needs. They make use of these technologies to communicate, express their collective cultural identity and Indigeneity, promote solidarity, disseminate their messages of advocacy, and rally for rights. Their online communications and actions support their offline protests to consolidate their social and political movements. Commitment and engagement with these common pursuits and activities, strengthen their relations and unity. By using Web 2.0 technologies to facilitate and perform social and political movements advocating Indigenous rights, Indigenous Australians strengthen their online community ties.



Aguiton, C. & Cardon, D. (2007). The strength of weak cooperation: An attempt to understand the meaning of Web 2.0. Communications & Strategies, 65(1), 51-65. Retrieved from

Australian Institute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). (n.d.). Activism. Retrieved from

Dreher, T., McCallum, K. & Waller, L. (2016). Indigenous voices and mediatized policy-making in the digital age. Information, Communication and Society 19(1), 23-39.

Duarte, M.E. and Belarde-Lewis, M. (2015). Imagining: Creating spaces for Indigenous ontologies. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 53(5-6), 677-702. doi:10.1080/01639374.2015.1018396

Dyson, L. (2011) Indigenous Peoples on the Internet. In M. Consalvo & C. Ess The Handbook of Internet Studies. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. doi:10.1002/9781444314861

Frazer, R. & Carlson, B. (2017). Indigenous memes and the invention of a People. Social Media & Society, 1-12. doi:10.1177/2056305117738993

Katz, J.E., Rice, R.E., Acord, S., Dasgupta, K. & David, K. (2004). Personal mediated communication and the concept of community in theory and practice. Annals of the International Communication Association, 28(1), pp.304-355.

Lumby, B.L. (2010) Cyber-Indigeneity: Urban Indigenous identity on Facebook. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 39, 68-75. Retrieved from

Papacharissi, Z. (2009) The virtual geographies of social networks: A comparative analysis of Facebook, LinkedIn and ASmallWorld. New Media & Society, 11(1-2), 199-220. doi:10.1177/1461444808099577

Petray, T.L. (2011). Protest 2.0: Online interactions and Aboriginal activists. Media Culture & Society, 33(6), 923-940. doi:10.1177/0163443711411009

Petray, T.L. (2013). Self-writing a movement and contesting Indigeneity: Being an Aboriginal activist on social media. Global Media Journal: Australian Edition, 7(1), 1-20. Retrieved from

Ridings, C. & Gefen, D. (2004). Virtual community attraction: Why people hang out online. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 10(1).
Retrieved from

Soriano, C.R. (2012). The arts of Indigenous online dissent: Negotiating technology, Indigeneity, and activism in the Cordillera. Telematics & Informatics, 29, 33-44. doi:10.1016/j.tele.2011.04.004

Steinkuehler, C. & Williams, D. (2006). Where everybody knows your (screen) name: Online games as “third places”. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 11(4), article 1. Retrieved from

Thompson, C. (2008, September 5). Brave new world of digital intimacy. The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from

Welcome to Country. (2017, August 14). Top 50 Aboriginal resistance memes. Retrieved from

Wellman, B. & Gulia, M. (1999). Net surfers don’t ride alone: Virtual communities as communities. In P. Kollock, & M. Smith (Eds.), Communities & Cyberspace. New York: Routledge. Retrieved from


This work by Alice Kullrich is licensed under a

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Click here to view PDF

13 thoughts on “First Australians: Building comm-unity online through activism and Web 2.0

  1. Hi Alice,
    Great to hear about the many ways that Indigenous Australians are using web 2.0 to have a voice and garner support for protest movements.

    Cultural studies expert, Tara Brabazon asserted in 2001 (yes, a long time ago) that the internet privileges text-based culture, and English specifically. You mention that YouTube and Vimeo – both established post the Brabazon article – privilege oral-based cultures. Did you find examples of how Indigenous Australians develop online communities around those platforms? And if so, what characteristics of community were present?
    Thank you

    Brabazon, T. (2001). How imagined are virtual communities?. Retrieved from

    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for reading my paper and for being the first to comment.

      YouTube and Vimeo are examples of multimedia that Indigenous Australians use for consolidating their oral culture in an online environment. “Interactive media, particularly the creation of videos for YouTube, support the empowerment of Aboriginal people, particularly young people” (Petray, 2011, p.936). Multimedia created through these sites can be conveniently incorporated into websites and other social media sites to express themselves not only orally, but also through gestures and facial expressions providing nuanced communicative cues, which are also valued forms of cultural expression for Indigenous Australians. Indigenous communities can be established through activism and movements as indicated in my paper. These communities are not necessarily static, and can be fluid and changing. I think some of the characteristics of these communities to create cohesion are shared history, social values and relations, co-operation, solidarity, cultural beliefs and traditions, and cultural values and integrity. I hope I have answered your questions Sarah. Regards, Alice.

      Petray, T.L. (2011). Protest 2.0: Online interactions and Aboriginal activists. Media Culture & Society, 33(6), 923-940. doi:10.1177/0163443711411009

      1. Thanks for explaining Alice.

        After reading your response, I remembered a YouTube video that had gone viral of an Indigenous community (perhaps from the Yolŋu language group) who had created a version of Gangnam Style. I can’t find it now. However, your comment about Indigenous communities not being static reminded me how important it is for non-Indigenous Australians to see examples of all aspects of Indigenous everyday life – from traditional beliefs and values, to enjoyment of global popular culture. And video is a great way to do that.

  2. Hi Alice,

    Your paper is inspirational and people should take stock of exactly what the formation of political organisations and use of technology means.

    I take this quoted passage from a book by Eugene Stockton, (2015) called “the Aboriginal gift” where I think he demonstrates clarity with his description of other peoples world culture in comparison to Aboringinal people’s culture “A simple model of prehistoric technological development is of man’s struggle with the environment to dominate, manipulate and exploit it, eventually drawing societies into like struggle with each other, individuals into conflict with individuals.” he then provides his comparison “In the unique and isolated environment of Australia, her people took another path. In the harshest inhabited continent on earth, they learnt to survive by entering into a caring partnership with the land, which became a whole way of life, a spirituality.” (p16)

    The adoption of technology to tell the stories, improve cultural connections, change perception and improve ignorance is an extension of the caring partnership with the land.


    Stockton, E. (2015). the Aboriginal gift: Spirituality for a Nation, Blue Mountain Education Trust

    1. Thanks for your response Angela. I liked your quote from Stockton (2015), pointing to Indigenous Australians’ cultural attitudes of creating harmony with the land and its ecosystem being in such contrast to attitudes of ‘other peoples’ wherein a struggle emanates due to attempts to control and exploit. I found that interesting because of the glaring truth that colonialization has in fact brought struggle into Indigenous Australians orbit of harmony with environment.

      It is heartening that these struggles can be somewhat mitigated and addressed through the use of modern digital technologies and in so doing, strengthen their community and identity online. The use of ICT tools by Indigenous Australians has enabled them to disseminate real information and truths without artificial discourse imposed by the dominant hegemony, and to build solidarity and community in the process.

      It is good to see some positive result to their struggles as seen with the Palm Island resolution and restitution, as mentioned in the news recently. Regards, Alice.

  3. Hi Alice

    What an informative article. Prior to your paper, I had little knowledge on this topic. Thanks for shedding some light on it. Out of curiosity, why do you think people fake belong into an indigenous community? Looking forward to your answer.

  4. Hi Fatima,
    there has been a long and global history of “non-Indigenous people assuming control of how Indigenous people are represented” (Dyson, 2011, p.253). As we know, this leads to racial stereotyping, and decontextualizing of their culture, resulting in falsehoods and misrepresentation. Commodification of Indigenous culture is another norm that has occurred, which Indigenous people have endured without rightful compensation to themselves.
    As to your question Fatima: who would pretend to belong to an online Indigenous community: my answer is that, in the context of Indigenous Australians, it is more about exclusivity and protecting sacred knowledge, and also being in a position to challenge undermining forces. Dyson explains that “Indigenous people have concerns over who has the right to knowledge, for which they do not wish unauthorized members of even their own community, let alone outsiders, to gain access” (Dyson, 2011, p.257). So, this is where proof of Indigeneity in Australia is important. It’s about authenticating belonging to a given community.
    Considering historical events, it is natural that Australia’s Indigenous people may be apprehensive about online access and privacy, especially concerning deeply cultural beliefs and traditions. Lumby says that “Facebook is a platform where Indigeneity can be displayed and enacted, performed and repudiated” (2010, p.70). For information, this author I am referencing, Lumby whose name is now Carlson, is of Aboriginal descent, and is an academic who writes with authority on these topics as part of her specialisation. Facebook is a popular site amongst Indigenous Australians, as supported statistically in my paper.
    Thanks for your enquiry Fatima, which allowed me to elaborate a bit more on the issues. I hope my answer satisfies your query. Regards, Alice.


    Dyson, L. (2011). Indigenous Peoples on the Internet. In M. Consalvo & C. Ess The Handbook of Internet Studies. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. doi:10.1002/9781444314861

    Lumby, B.L. (2010). Cyber-Indigeneity: Urban Indigenous identity on Facebook. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 39, 68-75. Retrieved from

  5. Hi Alice.
    I really enjoyed reading your conference paper, particularly when you articulated on indigenous people using digital technology to express their perceptions across the country and world.
    I also agree with you in the sense that digital technology, particularly web 2.0 and social media, are playing a vital role for activists to deliver their concerns to attract peoples’ attention. I personally despise injustice towards any individual and I believe that oppressed communities around the world should take advantage of social media, for example, to express their cultural identities so that they may regain their natural rights.

    1. Hi Ali, Thanks for your recent post to my paper.
      Yes I agree with much of your note. Social media and technology tools generally, have provided access to information and communication for many displaced and underprivileged populations throughout the world, allowing them to express themselves individually and collectively to a wide audience, build and strengthen communities, and to promote awareness and empathy and to push for change for the better. Hope you are enjoying the conference. Kind regards, Alice.

  6. Hi Alice,
    What a really insightful paper, I learnt a lot – thank you. I see that sites like YouTube and Vimeo are popular forms of showcasing information for Indigenous people, I’m curious, did you find any sites or pages that focused on preserving local languages or highlighting them? I’ll have to look into the hashtags you mentioned in your paper, as it’ll be a great comparison to what is happening overseas, particularly in America (as I focused on). As we discussed over in my paper’s comments, all thanks to Web 2.0 technologies and social media platforms, the power of sharing personal experience online is now a vital component of creating societal change.

  7. Thanks for reading and commenting on my paper, Peggy.

    As to your question about Indigenous Australian language revival websites/webpages, whilst this is not the mainstay of my paper, I have conducted some research to shine some light on what’s happening in this regard.

    Most websites are about Indigenous languages rather than in an Indigenous language. Dyson explains that “there are many challenges to establishing a web presence for an Indigenous language” (2011, p.263). As we know, English dominates on the Web and there are also other issues pertaining to governance, misrepresentation, sustainability, possible need for special character/fonts, security, etc. You might like to visit the Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre ( Security on this site bars downloading of private and culturally sensitive resources.

    “How knowledge is gained, defined and expressed is largely determined by language and its use in context” (Fogarty & Kral, 2011). My interpretation of this is that this intertwining means that to maintain knowledge of culture, knowledge of the language of the land is an important requirement. Around the world this understanding has spearheaded inroads into preserving indigenous languages, and modern ICTs form a strong element of this. Also, Indigenous people themselves are best qualified for teaching their own language.

    Sponsorship and grants to increase ICT literacy in remote Indigenous communities has been forthcoming to promote this and Bill Gates has been a donor to this cause for various Indigenous groups, including Indigenous Australians in the past. The Federal Government also contributes. Van Der Meer, et al., (2015) indicate the ICT literacy and access to ICT tools through Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALC) enable Aboriginal Australians to better pass on knowledge of their traditional language and culture to future generations. So, most language revival and teaching and learning is done locally by Indigenous Australians for Indigenous Australian youths via their LALC with the help of ICTs. This is more a case of in-reach rather than outreach.

    Hope this is useful Peggy. Thanks for sharing with me at this conference. It’s been great! Regards, Alice.


    Van Der Meer, S., Smith, S., & Pang, V. (2015). The Use of ICT to preserve Australian Indigenous Culture and Language – a Preliminarily Proposal Using the Activity Theory Framework. Indigenous Culture Preservation with ICT: Australasian Conference on Information Systems 2015 Adelaide. Retrieved from

    Fogarty, W., & Kral, I. 2011. Submission to the Inquiry into language learning in Indigenous communities, The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. Dept of the House of Representatives. [online] Retrieved from

  8. Hey Alice,

    This paper was a great read and I was able to draw many links between what I know and have learnt, and what I was previously not aware of. Thank you for writing on such an important topic.
    As someone who has been trying to educate myself more in these areas, I have definitely anecdotally seen examples of these uses of web 2.0. I also found your points about the history of “yarning” and it’s importance, and how of course the preservation of communities, cultures, and languages could be assisted by technology in this way.

    Thank you again for writing on this and I look forward to using your paper as a spring board for further learning in this area.

    Regards, Eloise

  9. Hi Eloise,
    Thanks for reading my paper, and I’m glad you appreciated its content. I hope it is of further value to you.
    Great Conference! Cheers, Alice.

Comments are closed.