Archaeological sites & Indigenous values: the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area

McIntyre-Tamwoy, Susan (2008) Archaeological sites & Indigenous values: the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Archaeological Heritage, 1 (1). pp. 42-49.

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Abstract

This paper arises from a project undertaken for the Department of Environment and Heritage (now the Department of Environment, Heritage and Water). In the course of this project it became apparent that an area valued for its outstanding natural values including its biodiversity and evolutionary history was also a rich cultural landscape. It contains not only unique archaeological evidence of a complex ceremonial culture but the very landforms that comprise this World Heritage Area (WHA) bear testament to the rich spiritual life of the Indigenous people who lived there and whose descendents now hold these places close to their hearts. Failure to recognise the Indigenous values of the area and the contemporary connections of Aboriginal people to this World Heritage estate has led in places to a form of cultural dispossession where Aboriginal people are relegated to the status of distant stakeholders in the management of their own heritage.

Results of this study have not been published in the intervening years since the project was completed and it is hoped that this paper will raise awareness of the need to recognise the Indigenous values in the formal listing and more actively engage the Aboriginal owners in management. As a case study this project highlights the complex relationship of Aboriginal people to rainforests in Australia. It demonstrates how this relationship can be overlooked in rainforest landscapes that are valued for their biodiversity and natural values and managed as estates from which Indigenous owners have been removed or are at best treated as absentee landlords.

Item ID: 2070
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Gondwana rainforests, World Heritage, Indigenous values, archaeological sites, protected area management, national parks
ISSN: 1834-6634
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2009 23:11
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology @ 100%
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Last 12 Months: 71
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