Scientists and engineers who want to construct some of the worlds best telescopes in remote locations all over the world often find themselves in awkward situations when confronted with the issue of native land titles. When these involve sacred sites, like the Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii where some of the best optical telescopes in the world are located, the situation is exacerbated. Careful negotiation and communication is required, as we don’t want an ‘Avatar’ situation where the rights of the local people are trampled upon.
The short clip below brings an Aboriginal perspective to the Australian bid for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). While it does try to highlight the link between ancient Aboriginal knowledge to modern astronomy, I can’t help but notice some propagandist undertones by the commentator near the end of the video.
Having said that, I’m a strong supporter of the Australian bid for the SKA, and I hope that all goes well with the land negotiations, not just with the Wajarri people but the miners as well.
Here’s an inspiring ‘corporate video’ showcasing Australia and New Zealand’s bid for the SKA. I just love the soundtrack! It’s got kangaroos in it too, and may it bring better fortune to Australia than its other failed bid also featuring a kangaroo (yes, I’m talking about the 2022 World Cup). Looking forward to the announcement on the 29th of February 2012!