Thursday, March 19, 2009

Moree's Dhiiyaan Indigenous Centre


I hope that plans to restructure the Northern Regional Library Dhiiyaan Indigenous Centre succeed. The plans were reported in the Moree Champion on 17 March 2009.

The above photo from the Centre's collection shows the Pilliga Mission, one of the sites at which Aboriginal people were gathered on missions or reserves under the control of the Aborigines Protection Board.

At present, the Centre is part of the Northern Regional Library & Information Service and is based in Moree, servicing the shires of Brewarrina, Gwydir, Moree Plains and Walgett. Included within these shires are a substantial number of Aboriginal settlements. They include; Boggabilla, Boomi, Brewarrina, Collarenebri, Mungindi, Toomelah, Walgett and Moree itself.

The plan now is to develop it into a larger stand-alone entity.

I do not know whether or not the Centre is unique in Australia. I do know from my web searches that it is unusual because of its focus (among other things) in helping Aboriginal people trace their families.

The Centre lies at the heart of Kamilaroi territory, but extends beyond this.

My only criticism of the Centre's Mrs Noelene Briggs-Smith and her supporters is that their vision is arguably too narrow, too local. Here I am thinking not so much of services, but of the support base.

My feeling is that the Centre should be selling itself more broadly, seeking to attract support not just from the Moree area and State Government, but also from interested people elsewhere in New England and beyond.

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