Celebrating diversity, culture and sharing indigenous wisdom. More than three thousand indigenous delegates from around the world have gathered in Melbourne at the three-yearly World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE) from 7-11 Dec 2008. The conference is hosted by local Aborigines (Kulin Nation), the oldest living culture in the world with evidence of Aboriginal presence in Australia dated as over 60 thousand years old. “Three minutes of extreme sory time” describes the keynote speaker Dr. Alf Bamblett (Moira/Wiradjuri) the time after the first settlers arrived in Australia. For approximately 59800 years Aboriginal peoples engaged in a system of life based on knowledge, experience and wisdom. Lore formed from “learing about life from life, watch, watch, try it until you are good at it,” Dr. Bamblett explains.
Despite the assimilationist ideology that indigenous peoples would be gone the presenters at the conference tell their stories of how they have moved from being recipients to participants with their right of voice and choice. They remind the audience that with these rights and self-determination go responsibilities.
Sure it is still a long way to go. Two thirds of Aborigines live in dire straits. What the conference beautifully shows is the power of people coming together, carrying hope and the wisdom that you can touch your fellow travellers.
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here