For 40 years Professor David Trigger from the University of Queensland has gathered and archived cultural materials and information relating to the Waanyi people and Waanyi country. Throughout this long term project, an extremely large archive of photographs, video footage, written field notes and documents pertaining to land claims and the native title process have been amassed. Now, thanks to a partnership between the Waanyi PBC and the University of Queensland, the Waanyi Cultural Materials Research Project will begin to hand back this information to the Waanyi people and make it available for future generations.
The project will provide access for the Waanyi people in the region to these previously unseen cultural materials by creating a digital archive, and building the systems necessary for people in Waanyi country to access it.
“This project is all about making cultural information available to the Waanyi people, especially young people, whilst also answering important academic and intellectual questions surrounding what happens in post settler / colonial society. We see this as a way to help resolve the legacy of colonialism in the region.” – Professor David Trigger, University of Queensland
There are two stages to this project, which has been funded until April 2018. First, Archaeologist and Research Fellow Kate Connell, who has travelled to Waanyi country many times as part of this research project and for cultural surveys, will digitise the cultural materials to allow them to be stored on the database for posterity. Secondly a series of visits to country will take place, where specific culturally important materials and information will be presented to the Waanyi people by Professor Trigger and his UQ team of Kate and Dr Richard Martin. This will begin the process of handing back these important cultural items and pieces of information.
“Often when we are out on Waanyi country doing cultural heritage surveys, people ask for copies of photos or videos that they know David has of their own relatives. These might have one of their grandparents or even great great grandparents in it. The completion of this project will mean that you won’t need to come through UQ for that information, it will be accessible in Doomadgee or online” – Archaeologist and Research Fellow Kate Connell
It’s estimated that there are in the vicinity of 4,000 photographs and 50 hours of video footage, together with a number of boxes containing reports, transcripts of evidence given in land claims hearings and during the Native Title process which the Project will make available to the Waanyi people.
If you would like more information on the Waanyi Cultural Materials Research Project, please contact the Waanyi PBC.