The Desert Channels Group (DCG) in partnership with the Georgina Diamantina, Coopers Aboriginal Group (GDC AG), recently completed and launched its traditional knowledge project – One step back, two steps forward.
The 18 month project worked with the Indigenous community to film short stories relating to land management and caring for country.
“Initially it was very challenging to find people willing to share stories that related to ecological or biodiversity outcomes,” said project officer Ronell Frazer. “These aren’t concepts we Indigenous people relate to. Our connection to country is part of who we are and our way of life, we don’t separate culture from how we look after country.”
The aim of the project was to capture some of the cultural processes that Indigenous people have used for thousands of years in the sustainable management of the land. Elders and Traditional Owners from around the Queensland portion of the Lake Eyre Basin were videoed sharing their stories around how they would care for the land and animals.
Over 30 people recently gathered in Birdsville to officially launch the short stories which covered the topics of fire management, land and erosion, water, fauna and flora among other things. Members of the GDC AG were in attendance, many of whom had provided material for the project.
“This project presented a lot of challenges,” project manager Jeff Poole said. “Many of the Indigenous people from the region no longer live on country. Add to this the fact that many elders who carried this knowledge have passed on and you can appreciate some of the difficulties we faced. Unfortunately knowledge is being lost before it can be passed on. This project is a small step towards reversing that loss of knowledge.”
The stories will be available to the public on CD or via the internet. It is hoped that landholders will access these stories to help them better understand traditional practices and potentially incorporate them into their management of the land. Part of the project included the setting up of an online archive that can be viewed by community and managed by the Indigenous people of the region.
The project was funded by the Federal Government’s Caring for our Country program. The launch was made possible through sponsorship from Sinclair Knight Merz and George Bourne and Associates who kindly assisted getting members to Birdsville to be part of the event.
It is hoped that additional funding can be found to enable this important work of collecting and recording for future generations continues.
For more information on the work of Desert Channels Group, visit www.dcq.org.au.
Jeff Poole Ph: (07) 4652 7813 Fax: (07) 4658 0122 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org