The Aboriginal Engagement program aims to integrate traditional and contemporary Noongar ecological knowledge and culture into the way SWCC undertakes NRM in the South West. The program also encourages Aboriginal people to work on Country by providing employment and business opportunities within the NRM sector.
The Noongar people are the traditional custodians of this land and have lived sustainably on Country for tens of thousands of years. Modern approaches to NRM can be improved considerably by incorporating traditional knowledge and respecting the spiritual connection between Noongars and the land.
SWCC is partnering with local communities in the Region to further protect and conserve areas of cultural and environmental significance. SWCC brings together Noongars and Wadjellas (white people) to facilitate increased collaboration and cultural awareness in the South West. This is part of SWCC’s holistic approach to NRM.
SWCC’s Cultural Connections program implements this holistic approach through Aboriginal Consultation for on-ground project implementation, Partnerships between Aboriginal people and Landcare groups, Cultural Awareness and Education activities and Cultural Landscape Mapping.
Highlights for 2016:
The Cultural Connections Trainees Summer Bennell and Naydeene Edwards have been meeting and collaborating with a range of individuals and organizations to help incorporate traditional knowledge into NRM. Their highlights of 2016 are as follows:
- Assisted in facilitating two bush medicine workshops with Viv Hansen in Kojonup and Katanning;
- Supported NEEDAC in their projects with aboriginal engagement;
- Engaged with local members of the community to see how we can support them in the near future;
- Assisted other SWCC staff in their approach to aboriginal culture;
- Completed a course in Noongar Language with the Noongar Boodjar Language Cultural Aboriginal Corporation. We passed this new knowledge on to our colleagues at SWCC to further develop their Noongar Language vocabulary;
- Met with the elders group to link in and see how we can work together in the future;
- We held a BBQ to introduce the community, local organisations and stakeholders to our roles here at SWCC and how we can work together in future;
- Visited two kindy classes at Kingston Primary School and spoke about Aboriginal Culture and rock art. We also did an exercise with the children where they did their own rock paintings of their hands;
- Spoke to Newton Moore Senior High School year groups about sustainable practices in caring for Noongar Country. Also introduced them to our role here at SWCC;
- Travelled to the Warden Centre in Yallingup and discussed how we can possibly work together into the future;
- NAIDOC week was a great week, we engaged greatly with the local Aboriginal community. We met a lot of people and organisations that we can hopefully work together with to achieve similar goals;
- We met with Jobs South West to discuss collaborating and working together to face issues within the community;
- We are working on a project currently around the Noongar seasons and we met with a lot of new people who are interested in collaborating and providing local knowledge of their area to assist us with the project. We met with the Wuddi Cultural Centre, Ngakang Boodja Aboriginal corporation, SR TAFE, CANWA Narrogin and Wilson Park Primary School.