Ngarrindjeri Climate Yarning Circles
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Ngarrindjeri Climate Yarning Circles
Lead organisation: Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal Corporation
Hub members and partners involved: Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board, South Australian Research and Development Institute
Project Category: Hub Projects
Project summary: 

Yarning Circles are a culturally appropriate forum for the sharing and transmission of knowledge for the Ngarrindjeri people, the Traditional Owners of the Lower Lakes, Murray Mouth, Coorong and lower River Murray in South Australia.

From May to June 2023, the Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal Corporation (NAC), in collaboration with the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board (MRLB), the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), and the SA Drought Hub, hosted Yarning Circles focused on climate change impacts on Ngarrindjeri Yarluwar-Ruwe (lands and waters).

Initiated as part of the NAC-led Building the resilience of Ngarrindjeri Yarluwar-Ruwe Landscape Priority Fund (LPF) project, Yarning Circles were held in Meningie, Strathalbyn and Murray Bridge.

Download the project case study

Project description: 

The Yarning Circles facilitated a dialogue that bridged cultural knowledge with scientific insights, enabling the Ngarrindjeri community to articulate a clear stance on climate change, focusing on actionable mitigation and adaptation strategies that respect and incorporate Ngarrindjeri cultural values.

In engaging a broad range of community members, from Elders to school-age children, the Yarning Circles also supported the intergenerational transmission of knowledge crucial for long-term cultural and environmental sustainability.

The project has set a precedent for community-led climate resilience initiatives and offers a model for other First Nations communities facing similar challenges.

Key achievements and results: 

Significant outcomes include:

  • enhanced understanding of climate change impacts on traditional lands and waters
  • insights into how Ngarrindjeri cultural practices can mitigate the impacts of climate change
  • a framework for integrating scientific and First Nations knowledge.

By identifying major concerns and knowledge gaps, dialogue guided the LPF project and spun off several others, including:

  • investigating freshwater soaks along the Coorong
  • Ngarrindjeri involvement in monitoring and managing important species such as Thukubi (freshwater turtles)
  • development of a baseline seasonal calendar that can be used to track climate-related changes.

Specific actions included the development of a carbon-neutral stance for NAC and advocacy for sustainable water management practices.

Further information:

For more information, contact Tony Randall, SA Drought Hub, at tony@agex.org.au.

Project Images

Participants at the Meningie Yarning Circle.


Tyreen Gollan monitoring Thukubi (freshwater turtle), a culturally significant species identified at the Yarning Circles as being at risk from climate change.