This Discussion Paper seeks feedback from Victorian Aboriginal Peoples about their Cultural Heritage management.
Culture is important for Aboriginal Peoples. Traditional Owners are the custodians of their heritage, the land, the waterways and the People.
The Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (Vic) (AHA) came into effect in 2007 to replace the ‘relics’ model of protection.
There remain significant threats to Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in Victoria.
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage comprises the intangible and tangible aspects of the whole body of cultural practices, resources and knowledge systems.
Victorian Aboriginal Peoples have a strong understanding of their culture, heritage and spirituality.
The fundamental principles of self-determination and Aboriginal control and management of cultural heritage are enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Aboriginal Peoples have a deep connection with land and waters with Country, which is central to their spiritual identity.
Aboriginal Peoples in Victoria have a deep connection with waters and waterways.
Plants and animals are totems for Aboriginal Peoples.
Victoria’s museums and archives are now home to many objects of enormous cultural significance to Victoria’s Aboriginal Peoples.
Aboriginal Peoples have the right to practice and revitalise their Cultural Traditions, to develop manifestations of their culture including performing arts.
Before the start of colonisation there were around 40 Aboriginal languages spoken in Victoria.
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, traditional knowledge includes ecological knowledge, medicinal knowledge, environmental management knowledge and cultural and spiritual knowledge.
The 2016 amendments to the AHA recognised Aboriginal intangible heritage, introduced a system for recording intangible heritage on the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Register.
Since colonisation there has been large scale – public and private – theft of Ancestral Remains and ceremonial objects from Aboriginal burial grounds.
Aboriginal People hold distinct Cultural Rights and must not be denied the right to enjoy their identity and culture.
Aboriginal cultural heritage must be recognised as an invaluable asset.
We would like to hear from Victoria’s Aboriginal peoples and those working with them about the state of Aboriginal cultural heritage in Victoria.
Taking Care of Culture Discussion Paper glossary and footnotes.
Taking Care of Culture Discussion Paper appendices.
Updated 5 January 2021