Social media is helping to harness the ancient oral history of indigenous people for contemporary audiences.
A series of short videos offering a rare insight into indigenous knowledge of country and ecology in central Queensland are now available on YouTube at www.youtube.com/fitzroybasin.
Fitzroy Basin Association Incorporated (FBA) developed the videos, which feature Traditional Owners talking about the cultural significance of different landscapes, and how different plants were used for practical purposes, food, and medicine, through funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program.
Video below: The Fitzroy River with Billy Mann
FBA CEO Paul Birch said physical and spiritual connections to land and water resources are essential to indigenous culture.
“Indigenous people have valuable knowledge of plants, animals, waterways, and how to manage the environment,” Mr Birch said.
“Sharing the ecological knowledge included in these stories is an important way to improve understanding and maintain the strong and enduring indigenous culture in Central Queensland.
Video below: Plants and culture on Great Keppel Island with Bob Muir
“FBA worked with local film and production company BushTV to collect and produce the stories, travelling to some of the most beautiful and remote reaches of the Fitzroy Basin, such as the Ramsar listed Shoalwater Bay on the Capricorn Coast, and Carnarvon National Park in the west of the catchment.
“The videos have also been incorporated into displays at FBA’s FLOW Visitors Centre in Rockhampton.
“The videos have been loaded onto one of the televisions in the centre and new wall panels were produced and fitted using images and information gathered during the production of the video recordings.
Video below: Carnavon Gorge with Fred Conway
“A free teacher resource kit will also be made available soon, featuring a DVD of the videos and curriculum-based activity sheets. Kits can be pre-ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning (07) 49992800.
“As part of the project FBA also captured lengthier additional video recordings for safe storage in the Keeping Places cultural heritage database.
“Keeping Places is a secure online database for sensitive information only accessible by indigenous people, designed to preserve traditional knowledge, both ecological and cultural, for future generations,” he said.
Video below: Bush tucker on Mount Archer with Billy Mann
The process of identifying traditional owners for these longer recordings was supported by Fitzroy Basin Elders Committee.