AIATSIS Project: Getting on to country: Wagiman people and their land since 1960
In 1960 nearly all Wagiman people spent most of their daily lives in the bush, working on stations across Wagiman and neighbouring countries. Knowledge of country, and the consequent capacity to care for country, was transmitted through this regular pattern of movement. By 1970, following significant changes in the pastoral industry including the Equal Wages case, nearly all Wagiman people spent most of their daily lives in towns - Pine Creek, Darwin, Katherine. This has continued to be the pattern since 1970.
Since 1970, the options for Wagiman people to spend time on their country have been limited. This has greatly affected the transmission of knowledge about country, with consequent issues for the care of country. Wagiman people have regained some land under Land Rights and Native Title, and are involved in Park management and cultural heritage management on Wagiman country. However, these involve limited contact with parts of Wagiman country, rather than consistent movement across the whole of Wagiman country.
- To record oral history texts in Wagiman on the changes since 1960
- To record discussions in Wagiman on people's views on the changes since 1960, the short and long term implications of these changes, and strategies to address these changes, particularly those relating to transmission of knowledge.
- To prepare a report summarizing views on the changes and strategies for addressing the changes
A more detailed understanding of Wagiman views on these changes, and strategies to address them, is central to development of successful cultural and land management programs involving Wagiman lands. More generally, the project will be of wider benefit as its findings, summarized in the overview report, will provide bases for research into urbanization and its effects for communities across northern Australia.