A delegation of nine senior Pitjantjatjara Men is visiting Canberra this week to organise the repatriation of important cultural items to the Pitjantjatjara Council's Ara Irititja digital archive in South Australia.
The Director of the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA), Paolo Cherchi Usai, said today that the NFSA was committed to the restitution of Indigenous audio-visual culture to its legitimate owners. "I am a strong believer in the role of the NFSA in preserving the Indigenous cultural heritage and in engaging with the traditional owners in a spirit of respect and reciprocity," he said.
The men are in town at the invitation of the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA), the National Museum of Australia (NMA), and the National Library of Australia (NLA) in collaboration with Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).
The delegation was welcomed by Paul House of the Ngambri Nation and Paolo Cherchi Usai at a special function held at the NFSA yesterday, with the heads of the other cultural institutions also in attendance.
The visit by the Pitjantjatjara men will allow them to explore audio-visual recordings and other materials of cultural heritage significance to them, which are currently held within the collecting institutions.
During their stay in Canberra, they will spend time at each institution working with collection materials of Pitjantjatjara relevance and provide a cross-institutional cultural awareness workshop for the male staff of the NFSA, NMA, NLA and AIATSIS. The workshop will provide instruction in the appropriate management of culturally restricted Pitjantjatjara material.
The delegation includes elders Wilton Foster and Lance Eddy from Wingilina, Mark Reid and Wongin from Docker River and Norman Tjalkaliri, Sammy Wilson and Reggie Uluru from Mutitjulu. The men are accompanied by Ushma Scales, Executive Advisor to the Pitjantjatjara Council and Mick Starkey, Chief Ranger from the Uluru/Katatjuta National Park. The men will be in Canberra until Saturday 30 June.