Well, I think it is time to lay down my last thoughts on my practicum. It was a great experience work with AARD heritage officers who did everything to provide me with all materials and information related to Indigenous heritage in South Australia. Peter Birt and Heidi Crow you were fantastic. But lets get back to the track. My experience with this agency included field trips to Flinders Rangers, Port Augusta and a couple of workshops as mentioned on my previous posts.
I would like to say that management of Indigenous Cultural Heritage is a process with imperfecttions tipical of such sensitive issue. One of the main problems seems to be the ineffectiveness of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988. This Act was supposed to protect Indigenous culture but in practical terms it does not happen judging by the numbers of Ministerial decisions taken against indigenous interests. Economic interests had always prevailed against Indigenous interests and this situation led some Elders to ask why reviewing the Act if on the end of the day nothing will change? This question reflects the ordeal of Indigenous communities. Furhter, the way Traditional Owners are treated in a paternalistic way does not help build relationships based in mutual respect and this leads to miscomunication and absence of communication at all in some cases.
However, the situation outside there is not that bad because the new Act apparently will include some aspects considered important by Indigenous communities as expressed on Scoping Paper issued by the Government of South Australia and suggestions received, as part of the reviewing process, from the Joint Aboriginal Heritage Committee Disscussion Paper. This paper is considered the most contemporary document in Australia about a Heritage Act. It is considered as such because it addresses Indigenous problems in an Aboriginal perspective which hapens for the first time in Australia’s history according to David Baker the man on charge of the reviewing process.All in all, this is a long process which request involvement of all parties in an unprecedent level and constant dialogue to overcome future problems and misunderstandings.Nevertheless, change of attitudes is a must otherwise any effort to improve conditions will be jeopardize. It includes a new educational approach where Indigenous heritage is thought in schools to start to familiarize people with this culture and history.