Woggan-mugule Dawn Ceremony, Doonooch Dancers and Garrabarra Dance Company 2005
What are Indigenous protocols? How do non Indigenous artists, filmmakers and wrtiters work with them? How am I working with them in this film? I am discovering that with each image, each frame - there is a story behind the image: a story of relationship, of encounter; there are perhaps letters, emails, phone calls, face to face contact; each moment, each frame varies. Yet there is 'bedrock' at the basis of it all - and that is this question: how do we come into country the proper way?
Frances Peters Little, discusses some of the issues in: The Impossibility Of Pleasing Everybody: A Legitimate Role For White Filmmakers Making Black Films first published in Art Monthly May 2002.
"With the advent of stringent policy and ethical guidelines written to protect Aboriginal communities from potentially harmful effects of wide public exposure, communities have become diligent about taking back as much as they have given outsiders who wish to appropriate Aboriginal intellectual and cultural knowledge and property. Film crews, black or white, are required to adhere to the principle that one must benefit the community as a form of exchange. This becomes problematic is when black or white film crews are left deciding who is the community and how should they be benefiting them. Defining what benefits a community is not straightforward, and the guidelines provide little help on this issue. Generally the notion of giving back to a community assumes that film crews ask the community to suggest how their film can provide a practical outcome for that community. Independent filmmakers offer anything from shares in their production to having their films used as evidence in native title claims. It is not unusual for filmmakers to contribute to community organisations or individuals in the form of cash payment."