To escape the January summer heat, the Western Mulga Aboriginal Ranger Team joined NACC and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage to discuss how the current Aboriginal Heritage Act works – and what they can do to protect our most significant Aboriginal sites.
As part of cultural training delivered through the Midwest Aboriginal Ranger Program (MARP), Western Mulga Aboriginal Rangers spent two days in the classroom and on Country learning about culturally appropriate conservation management of Aboriginal heritage sites while also caring for the spirit of country.
The Rangers learnt about the role of Honorary Wardens, including how to audit and monitor a significant site and what information is needed to prosecute breaches of the Aboriginal Heritage Act. A vital step in their preparation to play a more formal role in managing these important places.
NACC’s Aboriginal Participation Coordinator Bianca McNeair said that Aboriginal sites are of immense cultural, scientific, educational and historic interest and provide Aboriginal people with an important link to their present and past culture.
“These areas are often utilised to pass on Traditional Ecological Knowledge to the younger generations of Aboriginal people and the wider community.”
Western Mulga Aboriginal Ranger Peter Anderson commented “Identifying stone pieces that had been man-made was an interesting lesson and takes a lot of practice.”
Western Mulga Managing Director Sandy McEwan added that the workshop was empowering for our Rangers to find out what the Act is actually about and why these sites are so important.
“Looking up places we knew about on the Aboriginal Heritage Inquiry System (AHIS) was very interesting. We were able to see what information we knew from our community and compare it to what information was recorded on the AHIS.”
There are many site sites of Aboriginal cultural significance in the Northern Agricultural Region and the AHIS provides an interactive tool to search for information concerning Aboriginal heritage places in Western Australia. https://maps.daa.wa.gov.au/AHIS/ Please be respectful when visiting these sites.