Cul­tural map­ping

Central and North Rural Weekly - - NEWS -

THE first maps which record Abo­rig­i­nal land and wa­ter cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties across ar­eas of the north­ern Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin have been handed to tra­di­tional own­ers fol­low­ing a two-year Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Author­ity (MDBA) pro­ject to doc­u­ment these ac­tiv­i­ties.

MDBA head of Part­ner­ships Carl Bin­ning said the maps would be a valu­able as­set for tra­di­tional own­ers and could help im­prove un­der­stand­ing of in­dige­nous cul­tural val­ues and wa­ter re­quire­ments.

“The maps de­tail tra­di­tional knowl­edge handed down through gen­er­a­tions of the Euahlayi Na­tion (You-al­ley-eye) and other tra­di­tional own­ers, and record their lo­ca­tions for hunt­ing, fishing, cer­e­monies, har­vest­ing plants and herbs, as well as burial mounds, camp­sites and sa­cred ar­eas of deep spir­i­tual sig­nif­i­cance,” Mr Bin­ning said.

Com­piled by Cana­dian ex­perts in First Na­tions map­ping with sup­port from the North­ern Basin Abo­rig­i­nal Na­tions and the MDBA, the se­ries of maps de­tail more than 26,000 fea­tures across an area cov­er­ing the Bar­won, Nar­ran, Cul­goa and Balonne rivers, from Bre­war­rina in north­ern New South Wales to St Ge­orge in Queens­land.

“These maps show the strong, on­go­ing con­nec­tion that Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple have

with Coun­try and its wa­ter,” Mr Bin­ning said.

“The MDBA is proud to have sup­ported the pro­ject be­cause it recog­nises the crit­i­cal role that Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple play in the man­age­ment of wa­ter re­sources in the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin.

“The MDBA is com­mit­ted to work­ing with tra­di­tional own­ers to un­der­stand and recog­nise Abo­rig­i­nal cul­tural val­ues for wa­ter.”

As part of the com­mit­ment,

the MDBA pro­vides sup­port and fund­ing for two ded­i­cated in­dige­nous rep­re­sen­ta­tive bod­ies – the North­ern Basin Abo­rig­i­nal Na­tions and the Mur­ray Lower Dar­ling Rivers In­dige­nous Na­tions.

The new Aus­tralian maps were handed to Euahlayi tra­di­tional own­ers at a cer­e­mony in Bre­war­rina, in front of Abo­rig­i­nal lead­ers in­clud­ing Fred Hooper, Chair of North­ern Basin Abo­rig­i­nal Na­tions which rep­re­sents 22 Abo­rig­i­nal Na­tions.

“The in­for­ma­tion in these maps is in­valu­able to Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties and shows the his­tor­i­cal and cur­rent use of rivers and wa­ter­ways,” Mr Hooper said.

“More im­por­tantly, the maps show how Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple have deep and en­dur­ing con­nec­tion to Coun­try.”

The cul­tural map­ping pro­ject fol­lows the Na­tional Cul­tural Flows Re­search Com­mit­tee’s re­lease of re­search into cul­tural flows in

June.

The Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Author­ity con­tracted the map­ping ser­vices of Cana­dian con­sul­tants To­bias and As­so­ci­ates, who first de­vel­oped the sys­tem to de­tail First Na­tions con­nec­tions with land and wa­ter across Canada.

The Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin is home to more than 40 Abo­rig­i­nal na­tions and more than 65,000 years of con­tin­u­ous cul­ture and his­tory.

❝The maps show how Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple have deep and en­dur­ing con­nec­tion to Coun­try.

— Fred Hooper

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

BASIN FLOWS: Ngemba Tra­di­tional Owner Jason Ford (left) and Chair of North­ern Basin Abo­rig­i­nal Na­tions Fred Hooper dis­cuss the sig­nif­i­cance of es­tab­lish­ing and map­ping tra­di­tional wa­ter use.

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