The aim of the Aboriginal Cultural Connections project is to continue to build the capacity of Noongar people to be actively involved in and drive environmental and community outcomes in the South West.
It does this through engaging the broader community in Aboriginal culture in the South West, making links to environmental management through cross-cultural awareness, cultural protocols and traditional ecological knowledge.
The project is providing formal training opportunities to local Noongar people in conservation and land management, to build their skills and knowledge in contemporary land management so that they are able to access future careers in working on Country.
It also directly contributes towards the development of Aboriginal enterprise opportunities, providing access to Natural Resource Management (NRM) contract work for Noongar-owned businesses.
The Aboriginal Cultural Connections project is progressing very well and exceeding all deliverables for the 2016-17 financial year.
Three trainees have been employed at SWCC on a full-time basis over the 2016-17 financial year and a school-based work experience student was engaged for two weeks in June.
SWCC continues to support Aboriginal enterprise, with a total of 5 Aboriginal businesses contracted to deliver cultural education. This included a bush medicine workshop; a presentation about online Aboriginal Heritage Protection; cultural education activities at the Nannup Family Fun Day event, facilitation of a ‘Let’s Yarn’ consultation workshop and cultural awareness training which will be delivered in July.
Four school visits were undertaken to engage students in cultural learning activities and inspire them about careers in environmental management. These events engaged more than 100 students from Kingston Primary and Newton Moore Senior High School.
In addition, a further 10 general engagement meetings were held with Aboriginal organisations and community members across the region.
“I’m keen to learn as much about the NRM sector as possible and am looking forward to meeting and working with lots of well-respected industry professionals and dedicated volunteers”
Lance McGuire, SWCC Cultural Connections Officer
A defining moment of the Aboriginal Cultural Connections project this year was that Naydeene Edwards was supported by SWCC to realise her dream of becoming a business owner and establish ‘R U House Ready?’, as part of her transition out of employment with SWCC. Naydeene and Summer will continue to be assisted by SWCC into the future.
Lance will continue to work with SWCC until June 30, 2018. As part of this role he will be undertaking on-ground work; community engagement and Aboriginal consultation; mentoring from SWCC staff and undertaking a Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management.
Future cross-cultural awareness training is planned and further cultural engagement and capacity support planned through grants for Aboriginal organisations to undertake local initiatives.
Did you know there are six seasons in a year, according to Noongar traditional ecological knowledge? They are Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makaru, Djilba and Kambarang and rather than follow a calendar like the European seasons, the change in season follows certain environmental indicators.
1 Aboriginal trainee continues to be employed.
SWCC continues to support training and enterprise development of Aboriginal people externally.
3 Aboriginal Trainees employed.
1 Aboriginal work experience student engaged & 5 Aboriginal owned businesses supported to undertake paid work.
Trainees: Naydeene Edwards, Summer Bennell and Lance McGuire