MAC developed the Nyungar Kaditj (Understanding Nyungar) Program after the Aboriginal, and wider, community recognised the need for increased cultural understanding to improve engagement between indigenous and non-indigenous people in our community.
This program is ‘local’ and relevant to the first nations people in the direct region we co-habitat. Nyungar Kaditj workshops and activities can be delivered in a wide range of settings, including schools, day care centres, workplaces, businesses, agencies, service providers and community members.
Nyungar Kaditj has been delivered in 2020 to:
- Esperance Primary School
- Salmon Gums Primary School
- Condingup Primary School
- Castletown Primary School
Nyungar Kaditj events in 2020 included:
Esperance Primary School (Friday 6 November 2020) – A Day Trip to Cape Le Grand with our Nyungar / Ndagju Aboriginal Director, James Schultz. James spoke to about 40 students and teachers about the Aboriginal history of the cape, told dreamtime stories, played the didgeridoo and music sticks, and spoke about cultural practices.
Esperance Primary School (Monday 9 November 2020) – A Welcome and Acknowledgement to Country, and speeches about the Aboriginal Flag and Aboriginal Groups and History for the Goldfields Region and the local Nyungars – presented to the whole of school assembly including students, teachers and the Girls Academy from Esperance Senior High School.
Condingup & Salmon Gums Primary Schools (Thursday 12 November 2020) – A Nyungar Kaditj Event was held at ENAC with over 30 students and teachers that included James Schultz speaking about Aboriginal history, culture, playing the didgeridoo and music sticks, and telling dreamtime stories. The students also used the Nyungar Kaditj resources provided through the Southern Ports sponsorship to learn about Aboriginal history and culture. The students also participated in art and craft activities including boomerang and face painting, and bracelet weaving. The students also enjoyed a cultural lunch including damper and kangaroo meat as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Castletown Primary School (Friday 13 November 2020) – A Nyungar Kaditj Event was held at CPS with approx 240 junior and senior students and their class teachers visited the ENAC ‘station’ as part of ‘rotations’ throughout several activities as part of their NAIDOC Week activities. The Nyungar Kaditj resources provided through Southern Ports sponsorship were used with each group of students to help them learn about Aboriginal history and culture. Face painting and bracelet weaving activities were also provided by ENAC staff.
The Nyungar Kaditj Program aims to improve awareness, appreciation and respect of Aboriginal culture, history, stories and song lines (Nyungar Culture contextualisation is included in every session). This connection to country, culture, spirituality, community and family not only has the positive impact of healing for Aboriginal people but also increases understanding and respect from the non-indigenous cohort that is critical in closing the gap on indigenous disadvantage.
A unique aspect of our Nyungar Kaditj Program, and a reflection of the dedication of our Board and staff, is our access to Elders and Traditional Owners (one whose signature is embedded in history on the Native Title determination – WCD2014/002 – The Esperance Nyungars). Our Elders and Traditional Owners form a critical part of the program delivery through facilitation of Nyungar Kaditj workshops and activities, which is an exciting opportunity for the recipients of their shared knowledge and a means for them to be appropriately recognised for the significance they have in our cultural history.
MAC representatives are engaged in the progression of the Shire of Esperance’s ‘REFLECT – Reconciliation Action Plan’ draft. We note that the Shire, Community and interested Indigenous community members and organisations recognise the following community led and driven outcomes, which are addressed through our Nyungar Kaditj Program:
- Increased understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the impact of European settlement;
- Promotion of positive race relations through anti-discrimination strategies;
- Research in best practice and policies in areas of race relations and anti-discrimination;
- Increasing understanding, value and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, knowledge and rights through cultural learning;
- Incorporation and acknowledgement of First Nations peoples’ stories in the history of Esperance, including through signage, memorials, plaques and public information;
- Demonstration of respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by observing cultural protocols;
- Development of understanding of the local Traditional Owners or Custodians of the lands and waters within our organisation’s operational area.