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Priority 4: Support and promote Indigenous maritime heritage

Example Completed the museum’s first Reconciliation Action Plan

The museum’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was launched on 6 March 2019 by Chairman Peter Dexter and historian and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leader Dr Jackie Huggins AM FAHA.

The two-year strategic plan formalises the museum’s commitment to advancing reconciliation and builds on the museum’s past achievements to deliver on its vision for reconciliation: 3

A nation which understands, values and has deep respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and, especially, their maritime heritages and cultures. We aspire to be an employer of choice and preferred business partner of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Karen Mundine, CEO of Reconciliation Australia, defined the museum’s potential impact: 4

… the Australian National Maritime Museum will develop its approach to driving reconciliation through its business activities, services and programs, and develop mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders.

The RAP covers 16 actions in four categories: Relationships; Respect; Opportunities and Governance; and Tracking and Reporting. It strengthens the museum’s commitments to Indigenous maritime heritage, as shown by our collection, which has been enriched by a high number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks and cultural objects. It also enhances our narrative sharing by working with strategic partners and through grass-roots community development and procurement from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities and businesses.

The museum proudly flies the Blue Mud Bay flag – powerful recognition that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have rights over water in the intertidal areas.

The museum is investing in enhancing the quality of information about community and language in our collection during the 2019 Year of Indigenous Languages, and has created an Indigenous Advisory Committee under the museum’s new RAP to assist the Council.

The museum looks forward to providing a strong platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices to increasingly influence the national dialogue.

Achievements

  • Completed the museum’s first Reconciliation Action Plan
  • Marked the 2019 Year of Indigenous Languages by featuring Yolŋu in Gapu- Monuk Saltwater – Journey to Sea Country, Erub in the ghost nets installation in the foyer and relevant languages in works from around Australia featured in the NAIDOC Week display ‘Because of her, we can!’. Harbour tours, piloted in collaboration with Tribal Warrior, feature traditional language descriptions of places, flora and fauna, and outreach materials developed on traditional watercraft include the language used to name and describe them
  • Won two international awards for Gapu- Monuk Saltwater – Journey to Sea Country.

3 Reconciliation Action Plan: Innovate, February 2019 to February 2021, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney, p 16.
4 Ibid, p 15.