ANTaR ACT – April bulletin part 2

The Canberra and Region Heritage Festival started on the weekend and includes a range of events that relate to local Aboriginal culture and heritage – see details below. This bulletin also includes updates on current issues discussed at our April meeting, with guest Chris Bourke.

Reconciliation Day Council
The ACT Government announced the membership of the Reconciliation Day Council in March, with Chris Bourke and Genevieve Jacobs as co-chairs. This group will oversee preparations for Reconciliation Day on 28 May, act as community ambassadors for Reconciliation Day, and lead community conversations about the importance of Reconciliation.

Our next bulletin, out early May, will include details of events planned for the Reconciliation Day weekend, including a Reconciliation in the Pub discussion hosted by ANTaR ACT.

Uluru Statement and Constitutional Recognition
The Commonwealth Parliament has set up a new committee to look at working towards a successful referendum on constitutional recognition, with Pat Dodson from the ALP and Julian Lesser from the Liberal Party as co-chairs: the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. This terms of reference for this committee explicitly include a reference to consider the Uluru Statement from the Heart, as well as a range of other recommendations that have been made during previous processes.

The committee is inviting submissions to 11 June 2018, with an interim report by 30 July 2018 and a final report by 29 November 2018. Chris, a member of the Uluru Statement Working Group, encouraged all who are interested to make a submission. This would be one way to raise the importance of listening to the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. For more information see:

Canberra and Region Heritage Festival: My Culture, My Story
14 to 29 April

The 2018 Heritage Festival has started, celebrating Aboriginal, European and natural heritage in and around our nation’s capital – for details see: Events related to local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture include:

Boomerang Making with Ngunnawal Man Richie Allan, Woodlands and Wetlands Trust
Tuesday 17 April and Thursday 26 April
Decorate your very own boomerang with Ngunnawal man Rich Allan, who will teach you to throw it properly while sharing lots of information about Ngunnawal culture and language.

Aboriginal Plant Use Walk, Australian National Botanic Gardens
Wednesday 18 April and Saturday 21 April
Learn about the importance of plants to Indigenous people in Australia.

Aboriginal Family History Workshop, Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council
Saturday 21 April
Do you think you might have Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander branches on your family tree? Experts from the Family History Unit at AIATSIS will explain what resources and strategies you can use and challenges you might face in trying to identify and trace these ancestors.

ANU Aboriginal Trail, Australian National University
Saturday 21 April
Join Ngunawal elder Wally Bell for a guided tour of the ANU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Trail. Passing by scarred trees, the ‘pathway’ of Sullivan’s Creek, and the fire-stick managed clearing along the Acton Ridge, hear first-hand the continuing importance of this place for the local Aboriginal people.

Ngunnawal Dreaming with Rich Allan, Woodlands and Wetlands Trust
Sunday 22 April
Local Ngunnawal man Richie Allen is treating us with an Aboriginal tour around the wetlands. Learn the local history and the Dreamtime stories that have been passed through the generations

Bush Tucker Tour, Woodlands and Wetlands Trust
Friday 27 April
Have you ever wondered about the native plant foods and medicine you can find in your local area? Come and join Wiradjuri man Adam Shipp, to learn about how these plants have been utilised by Aboriginal people for thousands of years.

Lanyon Canoe Tree Walk, Southern ACT Catchment Group
Sunday 29 April
Join Ngunawal custodian Wally Bell on a walk at Lanyon Homestead to learn about the Aboriginal connection to the area and the Murrumbidgee River. Discover more about the significance of the Canoe Tree to the Ngunawal and what its presence here tells us of the strong community that lived here.

Also in Canberra
In brief, other events coming up are:

ANTaR ACT events
The next monthly ANTaR ACT monthly meeting will be on Monday 7 May, at 6pm, in King O’Malleys. All are welcome to talk about ANTaR ACT activities and campaigning, as well as the event for Reconciliation Day. Any queries, please email

Our next read and discuss event is on Wednesday 9 May, where we will be looking at Paul Irish’s “Hidden in Plain View: The Aboriginal People of Coastal Sydney” published by NewSouth Books, 2017.  This is a history of the Aboriginal people of the Sydney region in the 19th century and how they dealt with the expansion of Sydney.

Our next bulletin will include a write up of the great discussion we had with Us Mob Writers on 11 April, including some samples of their work.

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