Most tourists come to The Centre hoping to have contact with Aboriginal people but to make that happen, in a meaningful way, isn’t usually easy.
Traditional owners of Emily and Jessie Gaps, both sacred sites, major visitor attractions in the MacDonnells and just a short drive east of Alice Springs, have gone part of the way to fix that problem.
They will talk to you about the significance of the craggy landmarks of orange rocks and sandy creek beds, their plants and animals, and the three caterpillar Dreamtime stories of which they are the custodians.
The group of senior Arrernte people from the nearby community Amoonguna will do so from your mobile phone if you download their interactive App called Sites and Trails NT which they have created together with local IT whizz Edan Baxter.
The App is free and the traditional owners invested in its production their rent income from the two nature parks. The project was supported by the Central Land Council (CLC), was four years in the making and cost some $34,000 to develop and maintain.
The App was launched on Tuesday at Emily Gap, known by the Arrernte as Anthwerrke [UN-door-kwa], where the three caterpillar songlines Yeperenye [Yep-ah-RIN-ya], Ntyarlke [N-CHAYL-ka] and Utnerrengatye [OOT-ner-ung-utch] intersect.
The videos, the spoken messages of the traditional owners, the still photos and written information packed into the App, which guides you through the landscape, would have previously taken string of intrusive signs to convey.
The working group’s next project is a walking and bicycle track between Emily and Jessie Gaps.
“Our NT parks rent money community development program is one of the most positive outcomes from the joint management of the 16 parks and reserves in our region,” said CLC director David Ross.
“In 2010 CLC members decided to use 100% of this income stream for community development and last financial year traditional owners invested more than a million dollars of their park rent income in projects they drive.”
PHOTOS: At top – Traditional owners Andrew, Clem and Theo Alice with Member for Namatjira Chansey Paech who launched the App on Tuesday. Above and below: Images from the App.