Victoria has legally recognised Traditional Owner groups across nearly 70% of the State and this figure is set to grow as the final native title claims are resolved over the next few years. To manage our native title settlements and interests, each group created a Traditional Owner Corporation on Country.
Our Traditional Owner Corporation members represent our people and are recognised by government as the cultural custodians of our Country. Much of our work focuses on protecting Victoria’s Aboriginal cultural heritage for everyone to enjoy and sharing our traditional knowledge to care for Victoria’s land and waters. Our corporations are critical to strengthening the future of our people and while each group may be culturally different; each corporation is facing similar issues. We are not always consulted on decisions that affect our Country and we want to create sustainable businesses that can leverage the most from our settlements.
We realised that by coming together we could be stronger. Initial meetings between groups interested in creating an alliance were held in 2012 and we resolved to create the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations in 2013, focusing on our shared interests – broadening political engagement, increasing economic opportunities and caring for Country.
Our purpose is to be one strong voice for Traditional Owners and progress our shared interests.
Banner artwork by Drew Berick, Dja Dja Wurrung artist and commissioned by the Federation to showcase the connection of the different groups in Victoria that form the Federation. Creating different panels that would traditionally be sewn together represents the unity of the communities and each panel tells a story from a shared history including journeys, water, plants and shields that represent battles, warriors and resilience.