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Destruction of Juukan Gorge: we need to know the history of artefacts, but it is more important to keep them in place

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Conservation Land rights Indigenous land management Western Australia
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The 25th of May, the day before Reconciliation Week and the day Australia was meant to be acknowledging and remembering the Stolen Generations, Rio Tinto had detonated a 46,000 year old site known as Juukan Gorge in Western Australia. Artefacts found at the site were among some of the oldest in Western Australia, making it incredibly significant not only for the Traditional Owners, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people, but also for the history of this continent.

For many, Juukan Gorge was mainly significant because of its early date. But not all Aboriginal heritage is afforded this same interest. Not all of our heritage can be dated that early, and a lot of our heritage simply is not tangible. A vast majority of our heritage is found in our knowledge of the land that traverses this continent. Mostly, this heritage goes unseen by our colonisers, making it easily overlooked in favour of development.

Maintaining the connection of place with our ancestors’ possessions found at these places may be solidified through the implementation of stricter laws.

Read the full article at The Conversation.

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