Australian Heritage Commission, 2002
ISBN 0 642 54842 0
About the guide
Ask First: A guide to respecting Indigenous heritage places and values provides a practical guide for land developers, land users and managers, cultural heritage professionals and many others who may have an impact on Indigenous heritage. The title - Ask First - is the message of this book; that consultation and negotiation with Indigenous stakeholders is the best means of addressing Indigenous heritage issues. It is also the first, and simplest step that people need to take, and that is to put the subject on the agenda.
The Commission has promoted guidelines to help Australians protect different aspects of their natural and cultural heritage places, including the Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter, 1999, and the Australian Natural Heritage Charter. Ask First: A guide to respecting Indigenous heritage places and values will fill an important role in complementing these guides.
Maintaining heritage values and places is a vital part of the community's 'sense of place', cultural identity and well-being. This is particularly true for Indigenous Australians, whose heritage creates and maintains links between ancestors, people and the land.
The entirely different nature of Indigenous heritage and lack of familiarity or awareness in the wider community of the issues associated with it makes this guide both timely and important.
By using this guide and working together, we can ensure that the rights and interests of Indigenous people in maintaining their heritage is accepted and respected.