In December a new project was launched at Southern Cross University intended to give indigenous communities a greater say on how their traditional lands are managed and preserving the wisdom of Elders.
The new project is a joint venture between the University, the Bundjalung Nation Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and Natural Resource Management Committee, Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, and Department of Environment and Conservation National Parks and Wildlife Division.
The project has seen the creation of a highly secured, user-friendly computer-based record keeping system through which communities can record and own their cultural knowledge. It is designed to be administered and controlled by indigenous communities, with important or significant information only able to be accessed by those persons delegated by the local Aboriginal community.
Communities can record oral, visual and written histories, photographs, films and any other kind of digital media about their cultural places and landscapes and file them on the database for the benefit of future generations.
“A few years ago I became extremely concerned that Indigenous cultural knowledge and traditions were not being recorded or passed on to the younger generation,” said Dr David Lloyd, senior lecturer in the School of Environmental Science and Management and cultural mapping project manager.
“It seemed this would be lost within a very short time if some real effort was not made to preserve it.“
After consultation with indigenous communities they decided to work cooperatively with us and use modern technology to record their ancient wisdom, heritage and cultural traditions.
“The first community we have worked closely with are the Aboriginal people of the Tweed-Byron region and we are now encouraging other communities to get involved.“