Stepping Stones Across the Lihir Islands: Developing Cultural Heritage Management in the Context of a Gold-Mining Operation (2011)
in: International journal of cultural property, Volume 18, Issue 1, p. 81-110
AbstractLarge-scale resource extraction projects often create obstacles for the protection, maintenance, and inheritance of indigenous cultural heritage. In this article we detail some of the challenges and opportunities arising from our collaborative partnership with the community of the Lihir Islands in Papua New Guinea, which is seeking to establish, inform, and resource a formal cultural heritage management program in the context of a large-scale gold-mining operation. The general approach to this collaborative venture involves the application of a specific development tool, the Stepping Stones for Cultural Heritage program. This consultative process is innovative in both Melanesia and the context of resource extraction, but also more generally within the field of cultural heritage. We describe the outcomes of this process and some of the initial pilot projects, one of which was based on the recording of traditional Lihirian songs. We also argue that while the mine places greater pressure upon Lihirian cultural heritage, it also presents Lihirians with the opportunity to realize a vision of their cultural future that is beyond the reach of many other indigenous communities.