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Aboriginal Reference Group to enhance consultation with the State Library and State Records

14 July 2021

The State Library of South Australia and State Records of South Austraia today called for expressions of interest from members of the South Australian Aboriginal community to join a joint Aboriginal Reference Group. 

The group will meet at least four times a year to provide feedback and advice on State Records and State Library's activities, services and policies relating to Aboriginal people and culture. 

The Aboriginal Reference Group is core to a coordinated plan to enhance consultation with Aboriginal peoples and improve access to records held within the two institutions. 

By working within the principles of the International Council of Archives Tandanya-Adelaide Declaration and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library, Information and Resource Network protocols, the two institutions aim to meet the needs and expectations of Aboriginal people through consultation. 

While discussing responding to the Tandanya-Adelaide Declaration, State Records Director Simon Froude said, "It is critical that my agency's response is led by the voices of Aboriginal people from the communities affected by our services and records. My role in this is to listen to those Aboriginal voices about what the vision should be, and then to ensure that my agency responds to that vision."

In May 2021 State Records of South Australia repatriated an album of photographs of Aboriginal people from Central Australia by Francis James Gillen to the Museum of Central Australia so that the photographs can be accessed and used by the communities represented in them. 

Also in May, the State Library of South Australia hosted a visit of Senior Warlpiri men to help in assessing material held in its collection for cultural sensitivities. It is the intention to continue this type of work through respectful consultation via the Aboriginal Reference Group. 

State Library of South Australia Director Geoff Strempel said, "The State Library looks forward to working more closely and formally with a range of Aboriginal peoples through this reference group. We are looking to the group to guide our practice and support us as we steadily enhance collection access and deepen our engagement with Aboriginal communities."