7 June, 2016
Our Land, Our Culture and Heritage
Aboriginal Australia is a nation of diversity, with cultural richness extending 50,000 years to the present day.
The cultures and heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were, and continue to be, complex and diverse. And our cultures continue to adapt and change over time to reflect a modern Australia.
Although the world looks very different to the way it did for our Ancestors, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to keep culture strong by passing on knowledge, rituals, languages, performance, art and significant spiritual skills from generation to generation.
Land is fundamental to our wellbeing, and we understand our roles and responsibilities as caretakers of the land we live on and enjoy. The land is a whole environment that sustains and is sustained by its people. For Aboriginal people, land is the core of all our relationships and the spirit of country is central to all important issues.
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council’s Community Fund acknowledges the importance of cultural connection to country, by investing in the future of the Land Rights network. In the first funding round we’ve made grants of up to $50,000 available to eligible Local Aboriginal Land Councils.
This edition of OurMob features Amaroo Local Aboriginal Land Council, which has used its Community Fund grant to establish a Camp Kitchen, dedicated to a respected Walcha elder and long-time LALC member, Aunty Beryl Green. The kitchen will be used for a range of community and cultural events.
Staying connected to her culture while studying away from home is also important to NSWALC’s 2016 Freddy Fricke recipient Maddison Smart, a Gumbaynggirr nursing student at the University of New England in Armidale. OurMob visited Maddison to see how she is settling into her second year of university life, and how her scholarship is helping her.
Cultural education on country is an area important to many LALCs, and this month Wellington Local Aboriginal Land Council made the leap and purchased Nanima Primary School from the Department of Education, using the Community Fund. The long term vision is for the school to become the Nanima Education and Wellbeing Centre, dedicated to the protection of Aboriginal culture and heritage.
OurMob’s Josh Ridgeway is this month’s featured Land Rights staff member. The Worimi man is NSWALC’S social media officer, and also travels to communities to help bring stories to the wider network. Josh says the network helps strengthen his own sense of self and relationship to his community and culture.
And in this edition, we pay respect to all the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who fought to preserve country and culture. OurMob attended a recent national commemoration to First Nations servicemen and servicewomen. The ceremony at Hyde Park in Sydney was attended by the Governor of NSW, the navy, army and air force, as well as hundreds of school children and community members.