SANTS News – May 2024

Monthly native title updates

Nukunu Cultural Burning Workshop

Nukunu Wapma Thura (Aboriginal Corporation) [NWTAC] recently led a cultural burn at Wilmington alongside Firesticks Alliance and supported by SA Native Title Services.

The return of this important traditional practice demonstrates a genuine act of reconciliation and holds deep spiritual and cultural significance for the Nukunu People and their ancestors.

Nukunu fire practitioners led the workshop over two days, where they demonstrated traditional knowledge and the importance of fire to Aboriginal people with invited community members from the Nukunu, Narungga, Ngadjuri, and Kaurna nations.

The workshop demonstrated the ways cultural burning helps to maintain biodiversity, stimulates plant regeneration and controls invasive species to improve the health of Country.

NWTAC aims to use the Cultural Burning Workshop as a prototype for Nukunu People to develop a property management plan for their Wilmington property, as a place for learning and culturally integrated land management practices on Country.

National Indigenous Women’s Fire Workshop

The National Indigenous Women’s Fire Workshop (Ngangkirna Kardlatidli: Women with Fire) was recently held on Kaurna Yerta for Indigenous women to share important knowledge they have gathered over generations about safe practices of fire and land management.

Hosted by the Kaurna Fire Team, Kaurna Elders and Firesticks, three days of workshops spanned topics from creative Indigenous practices to governance, Indigenous cultural intellectual property rights and community self-determination.

Aboriginal Way spoke to event organisers and participants about their experiences, starting with proud Barkindji woman Nancy Bates, following her session Addressing Colonial Violence: Calling it in and Calling it Out.

Listen here

National Reconciliation Week

National Reconciliation Week is in full swing with workplaces, schools, early learning services, community groups, reconciliation groups, and people across Australia hosting and participating in a wide-range of reconciliation-focused activities.

The events run this week, with the dates commemorating the passing of the 1967 referendum (May 27) and the anniversary of the landmark Mabo decision (June 3).

This year’s theme is ‘Now More Than Ever’, with a focus on expanding reconciliation efforts despite last year’s referendum result.

During this week’s program we spoke with Reconciliation SA CEO, Jason Downs, about the not-for-profit’s involvement with National Reconciliation Week.

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Kaurna artefacts returned from Germany

In May, four significant cultural heritage items sent to Germany in 1840 were handed back to the Kaurna people by a German museum.

The 180-year-old-plus items, a kathawirri (sword), tantanaku (club or bark peeler), wirnta (spear) and wikatyi (net) were officially returned during a ceremony at Adelaide’s Pirltawardli (Possum Park) – the location of the original exchange between Kaurna people and German missionaries.

The Kaurna people and representatives from the Grassi Museum in Leipzig have been discussing the return since 2019, after an application by Kaurna Elder Michael Kumatpi O’Brien, on behalf of the Kaurna community.

Uncertain future for First Nations cultural centre

The future of Tarrkarri, a First Nations cultural centre, hangs in the balance after the federal budget failed to provide any extra money needed to fund the project.

Construction of the $200-million-dollar building halted in October 2022, following a $50 million cost blowout and state government concerns the design was “sub-standard”.

Peter Malinauskas said that Tarrkarri could cost up to $600 million if built – three times the amount currently budgeted by the state and federal governments.

After the cost blow out, the Malinauskas Labor government commissioned former Indigenous Australians minister Ken Wyatt, former New South Wales premier Bob Carr and former investment banker Carolyn Hewson to conduct a “high-level review”, with their findings handed to the state cabinet in April last year. Despite pressure from Kaurna Elders and the public, the state government is yet to release its findings.

Tarrkarri was slated to be bigger than the SA Museum and the Art Gallery combined, displaying tens of thousands of Indigenous artefacts currently sitting in storage.

Asked if the public would find out more about the government’s intentions for Tarrkarri in next month’s state budget, Mr Malinauskas said: “Potentially yes”.
“We’re working through all the numbers,” he said.

“There’s a balance to be had here — we’ve got to make sure that the taxpayers’ interest is best represented, that we’re fiscally prudent, but thirdly, of course, that we don’t compromise the quality of the outcome.”

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First Nations Land and Water Management Forum

The First Nations Land and Water Management Forum (Dangkal Gwo’yal-wa) will bring together First Nations land and water managers from across Australia to celebrate and showcase their achievements looking after Country at the Darwin Convention Centre (Aug 27 – 29).

In Larrakia, Dangkal Gwo’yal-wa means Strong Country and this forum focuses on keeping our land and water Country strong by preserving these unique resources through the effective management of Country.

The Dangkal Gwo’yal-wa First Nations Land and Water Management Forum will also be an opportunity for delegates to:

  • build networks with each other and government representatives
  • share and celebrate First Nations unique cultures and knowledge
  • strengthen Indigenous land and water management sector governance and ownership
  • enhance land and water management practices
  • enhance learning opportunities and build organisational capacity and capabilities, and
  • initiate partnerships that progress land and water management programs.

Tickets here

Kaurna cultural map launched for Reconciliation Week

The City of Adelaide has launched an interactive website that culturally maps significant Kaurna sites and publishes Kaurna stories in partnership with the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation.

Kaurna Voices is an interactive webpage mapping the city and featuring culturally significant sites with historical text, archival images, oral history and video interviews with Kaurna Elders and community leaders.

The research process incorporates Tiati – truth-telling – to tell authentic Kaurna stories, including the destruction of Dreaming tracks and important cultural sites along Karrawirra Pari/River Torrens.

Find out more