why is this important?
First Peoples have lived in Victoria for many tens of thousands of years, with evidence around Moyjil in Warrnambool showing probability that First Peoples have been here for 120,000 years. This would be 119,750 years more than European people. There is incredible diversity among the First Peoples of Victoria. Different Traditional Owners have different creation stories, totems, art styles and cultures. The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages works with 44 different language groups across the state. It is also important to note that within certain groups, there are also different clans.
It is crucial that when working for and with First Peoples you recognise they are not a homogenous group. Even in a relatively small state like Victoria there is a wealth of cultures, knowledges and wisdom. It is also important to acknowledge that, despite the severe impacts of colonisation on First Peoples in Victoria, links to Country have never been broken. Traditional cultural, spiritual and economic links to Country are enduring.
The strength of the First Peoples community is reflected in the range of First Peoples organisations and networks across the state. First Peoples organisations are vital to the health, wellbeing and liveliness of First Peoples communities. They are often focal points for the local First Peoples community and the broader service sector, and are well placed to work with councils. It is important that councils engage with the breadth of First Peoples organisations with an interest in their municipality as they each reflect specific interests and expertise.