When listening to Jacinta everyone will be encouraged to think of the places they live, work and play in a different light. In general, we mostly live, work and play through the lens of the western world. But here in Australia, we are lucky to be living side-by-side with the oldest living culture in the world. Don’t you think we should take the time to hear their stories?

Jacinta Koolmatrie is an Adnyamathanha and Ngarrindjeri person (Adnyamathanha from the Flinders Ranges, Ngarrindjeri from The Coorong) who grew up in Port Augusta. As an archaeologist, she wants us to focus on centring Indigenous knowledge in archaeological practice, to think unconventionally. By researching Adnyamathanha yura malka (rock art) Jacinta wants to show that while archaeology may be a study of the past, it is a past that is relevant today. Especially for Indigenous peoples around the world as their culture links them so closely with their ancestors.

“In my research, I work closely with my people’s Elders. They are the most important aspect. Since beginning my degree, I knew I wanted to work with my Adnyamathanha community – and now I get to do so through incorporating our perspectives of yura malka within my research.”

Jacinta wants to change the way people think about Indigenous people by showing that Indigenous knowledge has a place in this world, a sentiment highly valued as libraries around Australia are looking for guidance on ways to be more inclusive for all Australians.

Since beginning her research, Jacinta’s accomplishments have grown. Her passion for history and education has led her to speaking at schools and conferences, helping students understand history, while also encouraging students to follow their dreams. She won the Ken Wanganeen Medal, which is awarded to Indigenous students with the highest Grade Point Average in their undergraduate degree. She is currently working at the South Australian Museum where she has the chance to build on her skills while also having the opportunity to change the way Indigenous people are represented in museums.

Jacinta tweets at @JKoolmatrie