The aim of Ara Irititja is to bring back home, manage and preserve materials of cultural and historical significance to Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people (Anangu). These include photographs, films, sound recordings, art works and documents from cultural institutions and individuals. Ara Irititja has designed a purpose-built computer archive that digitally stores repatriated historical materials and contemporary items. Ara Irititja digital archives are in 45 dedicated computer workstations in Anangu communities in South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia. Ara Irititja seeks to support Anangu in recording and maintaining their rich cultural heritage. Communities and families navigate the digital archive, add information, stories and reflections, and use passwords to restrict access to specific items for cultural reasons. In the past, Anangu were photographed and their knowledge recorded and published without any negotiation. Anangu are passionate about protecting their archival past, accessing it today and securing it for future generations.
Note: Sally Anga Scales, John Dallwitz and Douglas Mann also presented at the 2011 AIATSIS National Indigenous Studies Conference in September. Their presentation was titled: “Ara Irititja: connecting generations“.