Culture and heritage

Aboriginal cultural heritage

Mapping attachment: a spatial approach to Aboriginal post-contact heritage

How do you live in a landscape that no longer belongs to you? Denis Byrne and Maria Nugent show how Aboriginal people in NSW 'possess' their local landscapes by imprinting them with their life stories, histories, memories and emotions. In their minds and in their daily conversations they construct maps that are different from, but just as real, as the official maps produced by government and by tourism bodies.

The setting for the study is the lower north coast of NSW. Through research into the area's Aboriginal post-contact history, and by asking local Aboriginal people to describe the landscape setting of their own lives, the authors show how such maps have emerged. They argue that this type of cultural mapping is a powerful tool for the cultural heritage conservation field, and they offer a practical methodology for achieving it.

Mapping attachment: a spatial approach to Aboriginal post-contact heritage is a key text for students and practitioners of cultural heritage conservation, and for those working in the fields of Aboriginal, cross-cultural and oral history. It is an important contribution to the effort to give greater visibility to the lives and histories of Indigenous people in the heritage landscape.

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Page last updated: 29 November 2011