Friday, April 27, 2007

Understanding Australia's Indigenous Peoples - a practical suggestion

Over on the New England Australia blog I have been pursuing another of my hobby horses. Just to set a context.

Those who read this blog on a regular basis will know that I am fairly obsessive about the need to take into account local and regional perspectives. So when I talk about Australia's indigenous peoples I constantly say that they are not one group but multiple groups each with a different story.

I also complain about how difficult it is to get information at local level.

A week back I had to prepare the first draft of a speech. As part of this, I had to insert a phrase at the front acknowledging the traditional owners of the place at which the speech was being delivered. So I did my usual web search, only to come up with three possibilities.

I was able to sort out the problem through contacts. Still, it illustrated my usual point.

Around the same time, I prepared a post looking at what brought people to the New England Australia site. One of the searches was on the Birpai, the Aboriginal people of New England's Hastings and Manning River Valleys.

I do not have any real material on the Birpai on the New England Australia blog. This led me to do a search myself on the Birpai. There is a reasonable amount of material, but it is again all over the place.

All this led me in turn to make a simple, practical suggestion. I can see real advantages if Government coordinated and paid for the creation of sites for each of Australia's indigenous nations, thus providing a main source of information to all those interested.

I suspect that this would yield a very high social return for a modest cost.

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