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Thursday, October 19, 2017
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Western Aboriginal people stars of the big screen

WESTERN Aboriginal elders, knowledge-holders and students are appearing in the Through our Eyes series of 44 short films screening outdoors at Sydney University during the Vivid Festival.

The screening coincides with Reconciliation Week (May 27 to June 3).

Western Local Land Services Aboriginal communities officer, Blackie Gordon, says he’s delighted the films have drawn strong interest.

“Having these films screen in Sydney as part of this festival is very exciting as it continues to pass on the Aboriginal cultural knowledge of the Barkindji, Malyankapa, Ngemba, Kamilaroi and Euahlayi people to a wider audience,” says Mr Gordon.

“These films are just one part of the work Western Local Land Services is doing to engage with Aboriginal communities and strengthen the cultural significance of our region.

“We have a range of programs that increase cultural awareness and understanding of the issues of importance to Aboriginal people, particularly through their connection to country and the responsibility they feel for the land.”

Programs in recent months have included participation in cultural burning workshops to increase people’s knowledge about the way Aboriginal people traditionally used fire to improve soil and vegetation health.

Western Local Land Services has also partnered with the Barkindji Maurara Elders’ Environmental Team to undertake a youth traineeship program at Dareton, near Wentworth, to help young Aboriginal people gain employment skills in the horticultural industry.

A concert that attracted more than 300 people to Mungo National Park last week was a further step in building a better understanding of the connection to country in the area, says Mr Gordon.

Well-known and respected Aboriginal singer and songwriter, Archie Roach, performed at the concert, where he spoke about how he uses music to express his spiritual connection to country.

“Western Local Land Services isn’t limited to providing services to landholders,” says Mr Gordon.

“We work with a wide range of people including Aboriginal people to ensure a healthy and productive environment.”

Aboriginal people comprise about 15 per cent of the population of the Western Division. There are 16 Aboriginal language groups identified and many sites of cultural significance including the Brewarrina Fish Traps, Mount Grenfell, Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area, Lake Victoria, Mount Hope and the Mutawintji Historic Site.


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