He recently uncovered an unexpected link to his own family history as part of that research. “My family has a strong connection to whales, so I want to explore that further,” he says.
Dr Wilson hopes to engage Ngarrindjeri more widely in their heritage, and as Indigenous liaison officer of the Australian Archaeological Association, he wants to encourage greater Indigenous involvement Australia-wide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage. One focus is inspiring students to undertake postgraduate and undergraduate degrees.
“There are people out on country who do this kind of work, but they are not formally qualified,” he says. “I want to engage with colleagues about how we might encourage young people to get those qualifications.”
He is also a chief investigator with the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network, which includes members from 50 Aboriginal nations and 21 universities. Its goal is to swell the ranks of highly skilled and qualified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers.
In addition to these many projects, Dr Wilson continues to be involved with repatriating Aboriginal remains to Ngarrindjeri land, and has even been asked to collaborate with a French string quartet on a composition involving Ngarrindjeri themes.
“I’ve been asked by a lot of colleagues to get involved with projects,” says Dr Wilson, who has some busy years ahead.