Over the last century, many visitors to the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara lands in Central Australia collected and permanently removed artefacts, photographs, film footage and sound recordings. While some of these materials were filed away in the archives of public institutions, others were ‘lost’ in family photo albums or packed away in old suitcases and boxes. Many of these materials are of great importance to An
angu (Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people).
(‘stories from a long time ago’) officially commenced in 1994 to repatriate ‘lost’ material for An
angu. By 2018, Ar
a Irititja has tracked down hundreds of thousands of historical and cultural items and makes them available to An
angu through interactive software.
Building a Digital Archive
Harsh environmental conditions make it inappropriate for fragile materials to be physically returned to An
angu communities. Consequently, all items are digitally returned using a purpose-built knowledge management software now known as Keeping Culture KMS.
Anangu are passionate about protecting their past, accessing it today and securing it for future generations.
angu have managed complex cultural information systems for thousands of years, restricting access to some knowledge on the basis of seniority and gender. Ar
a Irititja has ensured that these cultural priorities be integrated into the design of the software they use.
Remote and Rugged
a Irititja is accessed in An
angu communities in South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia. An
angu navigate the digital archive, write in information, stories and reflections in real time, and alert administrators to restrict access to specific items.
In the past, An
angu were photographed and their knowledge recorded and published without any negotiation. Today, An
angu are careful to determine how their history and culture are presented to the world-wide audience. The multimedia interactive program created by Ar
a Irititja and Rightside Response called Ara Winki: Life on the Pitjantjatjara Lands
a Irititja’s App titled Ar
a Winki No 1 are examples of how An
angu prefer to share information.