To Tread Lightly: Teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and representation in a regional university
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Reproduced with permission from Art Education Australia.
My heritage is Wiradjuri, a Central New South Wales nation with a powerful connection to Lake Cargelligo and a number of inland rivers. Our old ties with the river have facilitated strong ties with tribes up and down the rivers which have extended as far as South Australia. In addition, Wiradjuri has strong familial associations with Yorta Yorta, Gamillaroi and historically significant ties to neighbouring nations, such as the Wonnarua with whom we collaborated during the 1826 uprising against the British (Miller, 1995). Our broad associations also included ceremonial and marriage arrangements with peoples much further afield, such as Aboriginal people who shared Mount Bogong in the Victorian Alps. Cultural ties and reciprocity arrangements extended as far as Southern Queensland and during the Bunya Pine ceremonial cycle, there were huge gatherings of people, including Wiradjuri, who travelled significant distances to share food. This is the present location of the College of Indigenous Studies, Education and Research (CISER) at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). It is at this university that I now plan and implement innovative art theory that provides a narrative of Indigenous art in the contexts of human rights, land rights, intellectual property rights, politics and international networks. In this way cultural exchange continues between myself as Wiradjuri and Aboriginal communities in Southern Queensland in an unbroken chain which honours both past and present associations.