Date: 9 May 2008
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Attention: News editors, Chiefs of staff, environment reporters
A tradition that has been in place for thousands of years continued this week in Namadgi National Park in the ACT. Ten Aboriginal people whose traditional country covers the Australian Alps region came together for the first time as the Australian Alps Indigenous Reference Group to help guide co-operative projects right across the Australian Alps national parks.
For many thousands of years people of the different Aboriginal language groups which surrounded the Australian Alps would gather at certain meeting places to discuss issues of mutual importance, share stories, food and companionship.
The formation of the Reference Group is an outcome of a meeting of over 100 traditional owners that occurred in 2005 at Dinner Plain in Victoria. The gathering is being sponsored by the Australian Alps Liaison Committee (AALC), a body incorporating government agencies that manage the Australian Alps national parks (AAnp); the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Parks Victoria, and ACT Parks, Conservation and Lands.
Australian Alps Program Manager, Rod Atkins, said that the meeting is a significant milestone in traditional owners of the Alps region having a greater say in the management of the entire Alps landscape as it was before there were state borders.
The Group will advise the AALC on a range of things including how to engage Indigenous people in relevant key co-operative management activities, projects and decision making; the development of Australian Alps wide capacity building programs such as cross cultural skills training including the identification, survey and monitoring of cultural heritage and interpretation; and mechanisms to improve communications and understanding between AAnp park managers and the broader Indigenous Community.
It is hoped that the Group will also look at ways to progress the outcomes and recommendations of the gathering at Dinner Plain.
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