Discussions are proceeding with The Cairns Institute (TCI) about supporting a cultural knowledge and science database with Traditional Custodians of the Wet Tropics biocultural region. A draft practice guide has been developed to facilitate the establishment of a cultural heritage database for Aboriginal Traditional Custodians of the Atherton Tablelands.
Developed by the Atherton Tablelands Aboriginal Knowledge Partnerships Project, the draft guide has been a collaboration between with Tablelands parties, James Cook University and Central Queensland University.
The project has been funded by the Wet Tropics Cooperative Research Partnership which is a consortium comprising Terrain NRM, the Queensland Government, the Skyrail Research Foundation, and the Wet Tropics Management Authority. The life of the project was extended by nearly two years to accommodate unavoidable delays due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The draft guide has two “faces”:
• an internal face on collaborating amongst traditional custodians about utilising a cultural knowledge and science database, and
• an external face on how to capitalise on the database, including by knowledge sharing with the wider industry, non-Indigenous community sector, and government stakeholders.
It includes advice on Intellectual Property and Cultural Heritage interests and technical information on the creation and maintenance of the proposed database.
The guide contains four templates that may be used to make agreements between individuals, organisations and the database on how data may be used or shared.
The nine custodial groups across the southern Atherton Tablelands engaged with during the project include:
• Bar-Barrum People of the areas around Watsonville, Irvinebank and Almaden
• Mbarbaram People of the area around the Walsh River and to the west of the Wild River
• Girramay People of the Kirrama area
• Gugu Badhun People of the Wairuna/Lamonds Lagoon area
• Jirrbal People of the Koombooloomba, Ravenshoe and Herberton areas
• Malanbarra and Dulabed People of the Gillies Range area
• Mamu People of the Millaa Millaa area
• Ngadjon People of the Malanda and Topaz areas
• Tableland Yidinji People of the Kairi, Tolga, Tinaroo and Lake Barrine areas, and the
• Wurrungu People of the Gunnawarra/Goshen area.
The project has been led by TCI Adjunct Research Fellow and doctoral candidate Joann Schmider (Mamu) and Prof Bruce Prideaux at CQU, and Distinguished Prof Stewart Lockie and Adjunct Research Associate Simon Towle at The Cairns Institute.
The draft document will now be workshopped with Traditional Custodians to develop a handbook that may be used to develop cultural heritage databases.