Caring for Ngunnawal Country

A Ngunnawal man undertaking a cultural burn. Seeing Country through our eyes

The Ngunnawal people are the Traditional Custodians of Canberra with a continued connection to the area, having an ancestral and ongoing legacy to 'Care for Country'.

As caretakers of the region, the Ngunnawal people hosted large ceremonies for neighbouring nations. Neighbouring language groups included the Wiradjuri (west), Wolgalu (south), Yuin (east), Ngarigo (southeast) and Gundungurra (north), who travelled to Ngunnawal Country for ceremony, Lore, marriage arrangements, trade, seasonal foods and the sharing of cultural knowledge.

To the Ngunnawal people knowledge of history is not only embedded in archaeological finds, it is also preserved within the landscape through oral tradition, dance, memory, ceremony, artistic depictions and stories. Cultural landscapes refer to the mountains, waterholes, rivers, caves, rock formations, flora, fauna, wind and air, that is the interconnected web of these elements including customary traditions and knowledge. Fire is used to maintain a balance of all living things within these landscapes. It is also where people have a traditional association and knowledge of whilst asserting cultural values and meaning.

The maintenance of culture and heritage is important to continue the oldest living culture in the world. Today, when Ngunnawal people care for the land they also care for their culture. Working on land management projects not only gives Aboriginal people a sense of personal pride, it also affirms their identity through a cultural belonging and connection to the land. This has direct benefits to the health and wellbeing of their community.