NAIDOC Week 2021—Heal Country

During this year’s NAIDOC week, we are reflecting on our contribution towards the theme ‘Heal Country’. At GML Heritage and Context we work closely with First Nations communities to reckon with our colonial past, protect Aboriginal cultural heritage and celebrate the diversity and stories of the world’s longest continuing culture.

Our team of heritage experts and archaeologists recently worked with the Gomeroi Traditional Custodians (GTC) to successfully protect country from the potential impact of the Watermark coal mine. We congratulate the GTC—their courage and persistence in the face of insurmountable opposition was inspiring. GML contributed to the s10 application to the seek protection of the site, and Dr Tim Owen will be sharing his experience of this work on NITV’s ‘Living Black’ this week.

Late last year, our Melbourne team worked with Traditional Owners—Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation, and Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation—and Parks Victoria to develop the Greater Gariwerd (Grampians) Landscape—Traditional Owner Cultural Values report. It provided direction statements to guide Parks Victoria’s Greater Gariwerd Draft Landscape Management Plan. An understanding of and respect for Traditional Owner culture and heritage is an integral part of the Management Plan and guides the future management of the landscape.

On the recent Bundian Way project, we have been collaborating with a range of local community members to ask deep questions about the underlying assumptions and values behind initiatives intended to protect and conserve the area. We feel privileged to work on this important project and  develop solutions that satisfy all stakeholders, with First Nations communities central to the decision making processes.

We launched the new First Nations Speaker Series in May, a collaboration with the Australian National University and also more recently, Sydney Living Museums. This ongoing project works with First Nations individuals and communities. its key aim is to privilege and amplify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices by creating space for a range of community members to talk about history, heritage and culture. We were fortunate to host Dr Leah Lui-Chivizhe in late May, and look forward to hosting the next talk at a Sydney Living Museum’s property, watch this space!

At GML Heritage and Context, we are committed to shaping the future for heritage for all communities. We advocate for reconciliation, social and cultural justice, and support the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We are dedicated to strengthening and building relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures and futures.