Creating and agreeing on the model legend/key

Published: 15 November 2015
Last edited: 13 January 2020
Misappropriation of traditional knowledge, history and a sometimes fractured relationship between Indigenous people and governments in Australia, has meant that Aboriginal people are often reluctant to share or expose their cultural heritage knowledge. Decisions about what to include in the model legend were led by Mandingalbay Yidinji people, through a carefully facilitated process. The Authority's facilitator took participants through a participatory brainstorming process to list every feature (natural, cultural, historical etc) of their traditional lands and waters. One feature per card. As a group the community then displayed the cards, grouped and sorted into themes and made final decisions about what to include and exclude on the legend. Once agreement was reached, participants collectively decided on symbology for each legend item. A hardcopy legend was created by elders and youth at the site, and the facilitator translated this in to softcopy. Sites were listed as a reference for creating labels on the model This process occurred over several meetings, allowing time for participants to think and discuss exclusions without pressure.


Education, training and other capacity development activities
Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Strategy and plan, Technical method, technique, tool
Scale of implementation

Enabling factors

Pre meeting engagement with Djunbunji staff. Trust between the Authority's facilitator and Mandingalbay Yidinji community. Real and meaningful actual participation by community members. Skilled facilitation and an understanding of how Aboriginal people 'see' the landscape. Using tried and tested participatory techniques such as card sorting, brainstorming etc. Good pre-briefing of community by Djunbunji staff to encourage 'buy-in'

Lessons learned

The use of participatory techniques was vital to the development of the model legend. It is the participatory process which ensures responsibility for, and ownership by, the Mandingalbay Yidinji people of the project and its outcomes. Ensuring that participants have as much knowledge as possible about why the legend is important, leads to a more comprehensive and community owned legend.