The Healing Our Spirit Worldwide visits regions on a regular basis. The Gathering was due to be hosted by Australia. The University of Sydney in partnership with The Healing Foundation were identified as suitable hosts. New South Wales and Sydney respectively have the largest Aboriginal estimated resident population.
Aboriginal peoples have always lived in Sydney. The original Aboriginal inhabitants of the City of Sydney local area are the Cadigal people. The territory of the Cadi (gal) people stretched along the southern side of Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) from South Head to around what is now known as Petersham. Their southern boundary is unclear.
There are 29 clan groups of the Sydney metropolitan area referred to collectively as the Eora Nation. The ‘Eora people’ was the name given to the coastal Aboriginal peoples around Sydney. ‘Eora’ means ‘here’ or ‘from this place’. The Cadigal are a clan of the Eora Nation.
We recognise and value the significance of the Aboriginal custodianship of this country and the songlines created by this nation’s first people.
Songlines carry important knowledge and wisdom that has been shared through unified stories, ceremony and dance for generations. Songlines criss-cross the land providing a complex and essential narrative of identity and values that underpin who we are and what we hold important. Songlines recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander relationships to country, to spirits and to each other. The obligation and the power of songlines have been carefully woven into the development of the program for The Eighth Gathering through the foundations.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art is used to record systems of knowledge, history, creation stories, ceremonies, people, places, and the relationships between them. It has an intergenerational purpose. It educates people and connects the ancestral past, the present and the future. Philosophy, law, economy, ecology, life sciences, geography, politics, government, theology, creation, health and medicines are just some of the disciplines addressed in Aboriginal art.
Intangible cultural heritage is not merely valued as a cultural good, on a comparative basis, for its exclusivity or its exceptional value. It thrives on its basis in communities and depends on those whose knowledge of traditions, skills and customs are passed on to the rest of the community, from generation to generation, or to other communities.
Intangible cultural heritage can only be heritage when it is recognised as such by the communities, groups or individuals that create, maintain and transmit it – without their recognition, nobody else can decide for them that a given expression or practice is their heritage.
For more information on the Aboriginal history of Sydney please visit the following sites: