The Aboriginal community of Broken Hill and the National Indigenous Land and Sea Management Conference Steering Committee look forward to welcoming and meeting the National Indigenous Land and Sea Management Conference delegates.

The Aboriginal people of Broken Hill

The Wilyakali people traditionally occupied the lands around Broken Hill and visited the Paakantji people on the Menindee Lakes in the Darling Riverine Plains Bioregion each year.

The three Major language groups for the Broken Hill Region are the Paakantji, Mayyankapa, and Nyiimpaa.

The Paarkantji people lived along the whole length of the Darling River, which they called the Paaka. Paarkantji literally means “River People”. The homelands of the Paakantji extended from what is now Wentworth in the Riverina Bioregion, Northward through the Murray Darling Depression Bioregion and into the Darling Riverine Plains Bioregion beyond Wilcannia to Bourke.

The Darling River was a less reliable water source than the Murray and because of this the use of fishing equipment is more elaborate. The fish-traps built by the Ngemba in the river near Brewarrina provide a good example of the innovations by the local Aboriginal people in water management, as does the stone dam built by Aboriginal’s just downstream from the Darling-Warrego River junction.

Just as the majority of Aboriginal groups populated the areas close to water, early European settlement in the West began with the rivers, and so it was the Aboriginal people of the Far West and Mallee Regions who survived the longest with the European disturbance.

Today the Wilyakali people of Broken Hill are still the main Aboriginal group in Broken Hill, though there are a number of Aboriginal people that come from other language groups. They still face many challenges of living in a regional town in modern day Australia yet continue to contribute to the livelihood of the Broken Hill city and the region.

The Aboriginal people of Broken Hill have established working parties to pursue their vision of a better future, artists and sculptors such as world renowned Badger Bates. They continue to look after their traditional lands and are joint managers of the Mutawintji National Park which is the first national park handed back to the traditional owners in NSW. There are many strong elders who continue to maintain and pass on their traditional knowledge to their young people and, today, share their stories with the wider community.

The NILSMC 2010

The conference will be held at the Broken Hill Regional Events Centre from 9am Tuesday 2  to 12pm Friday 5 November.

It will bring together Indigenous traditional owners and leaders, community organisations and people who work in the environmental conservation industry, key stakeholders and industry partners from around Australia.

It will be a time for delegates to share knowledge and experiences and exchange ideas for sustainable natural resource and cultural heritage management. It will also be a time for the Aboriginal people and the wider community of Broken Hill to come together to showcase their region and take part in a truly national Indigenous event.

Delegates will be welcomed to country at the opening ceremony, be inspired by the guest speakers at the plenaries, discuss, debate and share ideas at the workshops, be entertained under the stars at the conference dinner and farewelled at a ‘hypothetical’ and closing ceremony. Delegates will also be able to buy local crafts from the Aboriginal people of Broken Hill and surrounding region and visit country on cultural tours.

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Professor Marcia Langton is proud to be the Patron of the third National Indigenous Land and Sea Management Conference.

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National Indigenous Land and Sea Management Conference
Leading Sustainable Traditions
2 to 5 November 2010, Broken Hill