Despite the long lasting effects of cultural disruption, knowledge and collection gathering in NSW communities has been building exponentially for some time. There is a noticeable growth in identity, self-esteem and pride amongst Aboriginal communities through identifying local heritage and culture, and exploring related interpretative and art-based practices and resources.
Much of this work is led or solely done by willing, but under resourced, volunteer Aboriginal community leaders. M&G NSW acknowledges that the comparative underdevelopment of Aboriginal owned and managed facilities in NSW requires a specific focus on grassroots organisational development in the regions, and by communities themselves embracing technology.
Aboriginal Culture, Heritage & Arts Association
The Aboriginal Culture, Heritage & Arts Association Inc (ACHAA) has been established with facilitation by M&G NSW to support Aboriginal owned cultural venues in NSW. It is a key recommendation from the 2011 summit Keeping places & beyond: building cultural futures in NSW organised by M&G NSW and was unanimously further endorsed by community consultations. ACHAA was established by NSW Aboriginal cultural venues and exists to:
- Create a sustainable and resilient network of NSW Aboriginal culture, heritage & arts organisations.
- Provide and facilitate training and development for those who work and volunteer in the NSW Aboriginal culture, heritage and arts place based sector.
- Promote the value of NSW Aboriginal culture, heritage and arts and artists to the broader arts, heritage and culture sector and wider community.
- Engage with all levels of government and non-government organisations for the support and promotion of NSW Aboriginal culture, heritage and arts.
The founding members of ACHAA are: Armidale and Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place Incorporated; Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co operative; Boolarng Nangamai Aboriginal Art and Culture Studio; Miromaa Language and Technology Centre; Muda Aboriginal Corporation; Muru Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural and Education Centre; Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre Aboriginal Corporation and Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre Corporation. They have since been joined by Dunghutti Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery (Kempsey); Minjungbal Aboriginal Museum (Tweed Heads); Dharriwaa Elders Group (Walgett); Murrook Culture Centre (Williamtown). These are the core voting members of ACHAA.
There are also a range of supporting Associate Members including state institutions, regional venues and organisations.