NFSA’s Indigenous Connections

BY SOPHIA SAMBONO

The NFSA’s Indigenous Connections team recently visited the physical and spiritual heart of Australia, Alice Springs.

Sophia Sambono, Warren H Williams and Peter White

Sophia Sambono, Warren H Williams and Peter White

We were privileged to meet on the traditional homelands of the Central Arrernte people, which is also the regional hub for many remote Aboriginal communities and organisations in the Central desert. The sheer distance travelled to meet here certainly brings home the realities of living and operating in remote areas and a challenge which was not lost on our very busy NFSA representatives.

It was an all-round positive experience for the team and NFSA Board members who also took the opportunity to meet with local stakeholders. There was a visit to the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) studios to meet with their staff, including local legend Warren H Williams. We had a chance to view their very impressive back catalogue of productions, and tour the recently installed recording studio which was (at that moment) the most technically advanced in the country.

In their short time in Alice Springs the board also lent their presence to the Wrong Side of the Road Black Screen event, as well as the official announcement of the Indigenous Remote Archival Fellowship.

NFSA Board and staff members touring CAAMA

NFSA Board and staff members touring CAAMA

In the following days the Indigenous Connections team continued discussions with remote media and collection organisations, including the Indigenous Remote Media Association, Strehlow Research Centre, Ara Irititja, and Indigenous Community Television, about the challenges of remote archiving, the importance of preservation and the NFSA’s role in a National Remote Archiving Strategy. Across all our talks there was consensus that access to cultural collections on country was of vital importance to the maintenance of language, culture and identity.

Here is an excerpt from our discussion with Shaun Angeles of the Strehlow Research Centre. He is one of the three recipients of the NFSA/IRCA Indigenous Remote Archival Fellowship.

Aboriginal people have become disempowered, and collections like this are able to fill us up spiritually.