At the World Indigenous Network gathering held in Darwin in 2013, Ngarrindjeri leaders made a powerful presentation arguing that non-Indigenous recognition of their beliefs and traditions is crucial to social justice and initiatives aimed at ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (WIN 2013).
The ‘Kungun Ngarrindjeri Yunnan Agreement’ (which means ‘listening to Ngarrindjeri people talking agreement’) has been negotiated between the South Australian Government and the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority. The agreement provides for Ngarrindjeri to be involved in caring for lands and waters, and to benefit from the management of parks and reserves within their native title claim. It also provides for negotiation and consultation to enable Ngarrindjeri cultural values to:
… become integral to all planning and future management arrangements that are made with respect to the Land and aim to recognise and assure active Ngarrindjeri participation in those arrangements. (KNYA Agreement 2009)
The agreement and the associated initiatives provide opportunities to develop a long-term Caring for our Country program targeting education, training and employment. This approach exemplifies current approaches to understanding, respecting and supporting the connections between Indigenous people and their Country, which are needed to understand and manage Indigenous heritage.