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Indigenous scientist Kirsten Banks is on a journey to educate

“It goes against their ways of white science,” Kirsten Banks hit back against the continued disregard of Indigenous Sciences by right-wing shock jocks.

Wiradjuri Astrophysicist and PHD Candidate, Kirsten Banks, has spent a lot of her career exploring the importance of Indigenous Sciences as well as declaring her love for space and astronomy.

“We are the first scientists of this land,” she stated confidently. She is right, of course. First Nations People in Australia were the first scientists well before this land was called Australia. 

While Indigenous Sciences are a long standing knowledge of the longest continuous culture, there are undoubtedly those that exist to discredit this information. For if any pre-colonial Indigenous history, culture or knowledge break free from a racist understanding of savagery, then white supremacists are ready to call us savages and our culture “stagnant.”

Andrew Bolt, best known for being one of a few people to have breached the racial discrimination act, is threatened by the very notion of any Indigenous education being taught in schools. 

At the very least, if you mentioned the word “wheel” to Andrew Bolt, you’re either going to get a marriage proposal or a strongly worded opinion piece that will get taken down on YouTube. Why is it that any argument against First Nations Culture progressing past a concept of “mud huts” usually consists of “Your people didn’t make the wheel.” Banks laughed, “They didn’t invent the wheel? Well, neither did your people, honey.”

Certainly, if complexity of society and culture were to be measured by whether or not someone invented a wheel, Andrew Bolt would be finding himself grouped with the very people he has branded savage. “They’re trying to find a reason to invalidate Indigenous Culture,” Banks remarked, noting that the purpose of anything they do is just to create profitable controversial content. 

While people like Bolt gaslight audiences and make them believe they have an empathetic concern for First Nations Peoples’ history, achievements and education forming a curriculum, this certainly comes from a position of racism, rather than ‘truth.’

This year during National Science Week, Banks regarded the importance of Indigenous Sciences being made available and implemented into curriculums. “Making this info accessible will really show…For Indigenous kids, who were told they would be in jail or trade, this will open up pathways for them into STEM,” she stated strongly. Banks recalled how more Indigenous Science Courses are being taught in universities, with one class exploring the physics of the Woomera. Certainly, with curriculums exploring these subjects, Indigenous Sciences will help to break down racial stereotypes, educate about the deadliness of First Nations Cultures, and stick it to Andrew bolt.

Banks took a moment to send a message to Indigenous Young People who were considering entering STEM. “Our Ancestors were the first scientists, understanding how the world works runs in our veins, it is part of our culture, and you can do whatever you put your mind to.”

Recently on TikTok, on which Banks regularly creates educational content about space, an opportunity emerged for her to speak to the NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

As well as Banks, other TikTok Creators were asked to interview Dr Chant, as a way to ensure that large Australian audiences were receiving the correct up-to-date information, as well as voicing any concerns. These pre-recorded interviews were broadcast live on the platform and NSW Health has since been creating content specifically on the platform to keep as many people updated.

“Having it explained clearly and concisely by Chant on a platform for young people is fantastic,” Banks stated cheerfully. 

@astrokirsten

Watch ‘Ask Dr Chant Live’ 7pm AEST Sunday 25th of July on @tiktok_australia

♬ original sound – Kirsten Banks

Despite all the information being readily available about Covid-19, there is plenty of conspiracy surrounding it, including the current vaccinations. Banks noted that there is a nuanced discussion to be had with First Nations People who are distrusting of the Government during this time, due to the violence enacted by the Australian Government through history. 

“My advice would be to not just take info from one fb post, go and talk to mob, talk to the community, get a more holistic view from multiple perspectives,” Banks stated, assuredly, noting the ease that people can receive misinformation. “I feel for these people, this info is so easy to digest, Information and misinformation gets the views and clicks..”

There is currently a lot of anxiety surrounding the vaccines and this is not only due to misinformation but also contradictory information from official Government sources. “The vaccine rollout was anxiety inducing,” Banks shared these concerns, however, she stated that she was booked in for her vaccination.

She finished with a message to First Nations People, “Talk to Mob. Stay at home.Stop the Spread. And stay connected with your loved ones.”

Kirsten Banks’ terrific educational content can be found on TikTok, as well as her incredible series on Aboriginal Astronomy. 

@astrokirsten

NAIDOC Week 2021 #healcountry #indigenous #astronomy #aboriginal #naidoc #naidocweek

♬ original sound – Kirsten Banks

@astrokirsten

Globally recognised Aboriginal star names! #Aboriginal #Astronomy #AboriginalTikTok #AboriginalAstronomy #stars

♬ original sound – Kirsten Banks

@astrokirsten

NAIDOC Week 2021 #naidocweek2021 #healcountry #indigenous #aboriginalastronomy #aboriginal #naidoc #naidocweek

♬ original sound – Kirsten Banks

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