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The 2023 AIATSIS Summit in Australia was an enormous success, surpassing all previous events with over 1750 delegates and 400 presenters in attendance.

The summit, held on Noongar boodja, brought together cultural and community leaders, academics, government officials, legal experts, and native title stakeholders to celebrate and explore this year's theme, 'Navigating the spaces in between’. 

More than 50 exhibitors were on hand, including the summit co-convener, SWALSC, and six Noongar Regional Corporations, providing opportunities for people to engage and learn about Noongar culture, art, and tradition.

First Nations artwork, culture, presentations, and entertainment were woven through the week's program centred on topics including research, constitutional transformation, country, native title, women's empowerment, treaty, health and finding your mob.

Socialising and networking events at the Claremont Showgrounds allowed delegates to network and unwind, with media personality Narelda Jacobs hosting a gala dinner that featured an array of singers, including the highest streamed First Nations pop artist in the world, Isaiah Firebrace, to end the 2023 event officially.

The Youth Forum delved into First Nations youth's experiences and allowed attendees to engage with native title, governance, and nation-building. A collaborative weaving project from Culture Weave, led by Noongar artist Nadine Foley, was also popular with attendees and led to the creation of a beautiful piece of community artwork that has been submitted into the AIATSIS collection.

AIATSIS Council chair Jodie Sizer said the gathering was more important now than ever, with First Nations affairs at the forefront of the country's minds. "Coming together for our people, networking, connecting, and making new relationships. This is the way we do our business," she told attendees.

The third day of the summit saw Aunty Gail Mabo - daughter of land rights campaigner Eddie Mabo - and her son Kaleb receive a standing ovation after their introduction to the AIATSIS Mabo lecture, sharing some of the history of Mer Island and the story of Malo.

"It's time to let young people's voices come through... and so for me, my son - my eldest of seven - it's his turn," Aunty Gail said as she announced she was stepping away for Kaleb to take over this important role. 

GBK Chair Ned David presented the 2023 Mabo lecture; he spoke of the honour and privilege he felt being asked to present the 2023 Mabo lecture. He shared the background of GBK and its commitment to creating a platform to strengthen communities.

Many standout keynote addresses across the days ensued, including Noongar Elders Dr Richard Walley and Geri Hayden and Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney, who told the day one audience, "AIATSIS is vital to preserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and stories, and your annual summits are one of the ways we strengthen our cultures and knowledge.

"First Nations stories are fundamental to the national conversation about our country's history. The work you do to bring cultural material held overseas back to Australia - lets the world know that our culture deserves respect – thank you,” she said.


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Last updated: 23 June 2023