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Conference paper

There have been several approaches regarding culturally appropriate housing design for Indigenous peoples in Australia with a number of communities advancing ethical guidelines for conducting research. The aim of this paper is to identify the gap between empirical research in comparison with indigenous ways of knowing, and the sharing of knowledge, i.e. a concept of respectful relationality.

Relationality – meaning everything is interconnected, is the key to indigenous research and the development of knowledges about these significant areas. Thus, the indigenous approach to housing design is neither a culturally appropriate object nor a design process, but rather, it is a relationship with both human and non-human entities of Country. While the discussion is not necessarily an alternative approach to design in indigenous contexts, the paper concludes with a brief discussion on further possibilities for establishing respectful relationships with the Country and communities in order to gain an understanding of an epistemology of indigenous housing.

The discussion briefly examines various indigenous research approaches, culturally appropriate housing design paradigms for Australian Indigenous communities, and develops an inquiry-based position regarding respect, relatedness, and reciprocity, while acquiring meaningful knowledges for different approaches. Four interconnecting entities: ontology, epistemology, methodology, and an axiology of Wilson’s indigenous research framework will be employed to gain an understanding of relationality and relational accountability in indigenous research.

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