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First Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this resource may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.


This roadmap is built on 5 key elements for change. These key elements tap into different parts of the sector to ensure that museums and galleries are building stronger relationships with Indigenous Australians and evolving away from their Eurocentric foundations.

The first key element is Reimagining Representation. The goal of reimagining representation is to change the way Indigenous peoples are represented in museums and galleries. To do this, museums and galleries need to reflect on past injustices. This means acknowledging the role museums and galleries played in colonisation and dominant historical narratives. Further, Indigenous peoples voice also need to be amplified by increasing exhibitions that involve strong Indigenous engagement and relationships. Increasing exhibitions that involve acknowledgement of Indigenous knowledge is encouraged. Additionally, exhibitions that involve truth-telling need to be addressed. A national coordinated program would encompass all museums and galleries and lead to increased Indigenous audiences.

The second key element is Embedding Indigenous Values into Museum and Gallery Business. This element aims to move museum and gallery values away from their Eurocentric foundations. Indigenous values need to be encouraged in museums and galleries in order to make Indigenous peoples feel welcome and safe. In order to transfer these values across museums and galleries should introduce Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs). RAPs encourage everyone in the organisation to shift their thinking of Indigenous people and get excited about Indigenous engagement. Other value shifts need to occur in policy updates, interpretation guidelines and including Indigenous programming in budgeting. Additionally, there need to be Indigenous voices on boards and cultural competency training. This will make Indigenous Australians and Indigenous staff feel safe in museums and galleries.

The third key element is Increasing Indigenous Opportunity. Indigenous opportunity looks at improving employment for Indigenous staff. Indigenous knowledge is a skill which needs to be compensated accordingly. Positions and workplace environments need to value Indigenous knowledge. By valuing this knowledge, there will be higher retention of Indigenous staff. Additionally, Indigenous staff need support to access executive positions and professional development opportunities. This will mean that museums and galleries can work towards having supportive working environments for Indigenous staff. Further, working with Indigenous organisations will build trust with local communities, as they will feel they are being supported.

The fourth key element is Two Way Caretaking of Cultural Material. This element aims to transition the care of Indigenous cultural material into the hands of Indigenous Australians. Indigenous cultural material is owned by Indigenous Australians and giving them a voice in decisions is important to rebuilding trust. This voice stems from creating agreements with Indigenous communities to ensure their collections are being cared for the way they want. Further, museums and galleries should train Indigenous communities to look after their cultural material.

The fifth key element is Connecting with Indigenous Communities. This element focuses on repatriation and support. Providing Indigenous communities with the tools to properly repatriate their material is essential. This could come in the form of outreach programs or collaborations. Additionally, pooling funding to support Indigenous communities would result in larger funding opportunities, more support for Keeping Places, sharing cultural advisors, and more opportunities for travelling exhibitions.

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