“It will be for theater, it will be for international indigenous peoples around the world to get to, it will be a place where the elders will have their place, it will be central in Melbourne, it will be our own Parliament. ” Dr. Briggs wrote.
“It will be distinctive because it will bring together every element of stories that will be embedded for our nations to come to a center of world expertise from a native perspective.”
The draft proposal includes plans for a First Nations Cultural Center to serve as a community hub and “repository” for valuables returned to the state’s original community. It also proposes to include commercial space in the development that could be leased to provide a commercial revenue stream, similar to the model in place on Federation Square.
The Victorian Traditional Owner Land Justice Group has been working for over a decade on the development of an Indigenous Cultural Center located in Melbourne’s CBD, including as a key partner in a University of Melbourne research project between 2010 and 2014, involving post-graduate architecture students to produce design concepts for a native cultural center.
Group co-chair Robert Nicholls, a Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung and Wadjabalok man, welcomed the City of Melbourne proposal’s progression of work on developing the concept during the collaboration.
“For many decades, there have been discussions and solid work around the establishment of a practical multifunctional Planetarium area for cultural heritage, research, education and economic development in Naarm (Melbourne), uniting our first nations. The concept must involve all 38 First Nations , which will form the final assembly or black parliament in 2024, ”he said.
Similar indigenous cultural centers have been established between the state, in particular the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in Canberra and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Center in Central Australia. A National Center of Indigenous Excellence has been proposed for Sydney’s Barangaroo area. First Nations cultural hubs have also been proposed for Adelaide and Alice Springs.
There is also an international precedent in indigenous cultural centers such as the Sami Parliament building in Karasjok, Norway; Te Tonga Tongarewa in Wellington, New Zealand; and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC
Leading researcher for the University of Melbourne research project, Janet McGaw, said she was pleased with the council’s renewed interest in creating a dedicated venue to celebrate First Nations culture and knowledge in inner city Melbourne, following its $ 60,000 investment as a partner in the research project. 2010-2014.
“The proposal for such an area is deeply significant in the history of urban Australia, marking a new recognition of the centrality of indigenous culture in our national identity,” she said.
“There are many members of society who have fought long and hard for it. I am excited that their vision can finally be built.”
State First Peoples’ Assembly co-chair Marcus Stewart welcomed the proposal for the precincct concept.
“Culture is, of course, at the core of our identity, so we want to be very open to all ideas of ways to celebrate, protect and share our cultures. I look forward to hearing more about these ideas.”
A spokesman for the Victorian government said it was not at that point in the treaty process to negotiate specific proposals, but added that it had been clear that “nothing is off the table”.
“We have no intentions of limiting important conversations in Aboriginal communities about their aspirations and vision for the future,” the spokesman said.
“The government, which is currently commenting on specific proposals, risks hampering discussions that could ultimately help inform society’s position in 2023 treaty negotiations.”
In a written statement, a spokesman for the city of Melbourne said the council is committed to promoting its journey of reconciliation with the people of the First Nations.
“We work closely with traditional custodians when planning, celebrating and investing in a common future,” it said.
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