Cultural Education and Knowledge.

In April, the Commonwealth Government announced its intention to establish a National Indigenous Cultural Education and Knowledge Centre, one of the ideas to emerge from the 2020 Summit convened by the Rudd Government early in its term of office.

The Minister for indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, made the announcement in a media release which I have attached to this message.

The Minister says the Government will conduct a feasibility study to decide the form and role of the Cutural Education and Knowledge Centre.

The media statement says the study will gather the views of the "Indigenous and wider communities to develop options for the most effective way to strengthen and support Indigenous cultures."

She says it has been suggested that the Centre could, among other things, become a national gathering place for the celebration and discussion of Indigenous culture in a physical or 'virtual" sense.

We believe this announcement will be of interest to all LALCs given their inherent interest in culture and heritage.

As most of you would be aware NSWALC is also committed through its Corporate Plan to pursue the establishment of a Cultural and Archival centre in New South Wales.

I intend to write to the Minister, on behalf of NSWALC, welcoming the pursuit of this idea and suggesting such a Centre should be located in NSW.

Importantly, we need to point out that the use of the word Indigenous is not, in our view, appropriate for such a Centre.

As many of you would recall there was much debate at NSWALC's State Conference on the inappropriate use of the word Indigenous in relation to Aboriginal people.

There was also debate about this matter at the recent National Workshop on the proposed National Representative Body.

Participants in the workshop expressed a strong preference for the phrase "Indigenous peoples" not to be used as the primary descriptor for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

A majority of participants expressed their preference for the phrase "first nations," or "first peoples."

I'm sure this would be the unanimous view in the Land Council network.

NSWALC will keep you informed of developments in relation to the proposed Cultural Education and Knowledge Centre.

Bev Manton,
NSWALC Chairperson
10 June 2009