‘We have to protect this place’: returning to Nyimili to record and transfer cultural knowledge

Thursday, 2 June 2016
Frida Blom
Kirsty Anderson-Bonavia
Marlon Cooke
Tom Kimber
Roy Tommy

This paper offers a critical reflection on the origins and preliminary outcomes of the Nyimili project; an ongoing, community driven collaborative research project initiated by the Yinhawangka people.

The project aimed to document the cultural values of the Nyimili Range, an area of outstanding significance to the Yinhawangka people and in doing so, provide a structured framework for reengaging community members with cultural knowledge and providing pathways back to country in a heavily industrialised region.

Through leveraging archaeological and ethnographic expertise available in the heritage industry, the project uncovered evidence of a remarkable and well preserved cultural landscape.

In this paper we reflect on the projects successes in facilitating intergenerational knowledge transfer; bridging connections between commercial archaeological practise and traditional knowledge systems and establishing a methodological approach which facilitates meaningful community driven engagements with tangible outcomes. We also reflect on systemic challenges raised in engaging in this project which still remain as a barrier to Aboriginal people taking active ownership of the heritage process.