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‘River Yarns’: interest from younger people in cultural and natural resources

Article Category  Dimboola Courier > Current News
Date Published  Tuesday, April 4 2017
Author  Wimmera CMA

‘River Yarns’: interest from younger people in cultural and natural resources
A key outcome of Wimmera CMA and Barengi Gadgin Land Council’s ‘River Yarns’ project last week is the need to create more cultural and natural resource career opportunities for young people, according to the project’s organisers.

The project saw Traditional Owners, Aboriginal groups, members of community groups, historical societies and local and state government representatives travel from Horsham to Lake Albacutya documenting the Wimmera’s Aboriginal history.

Wimmera CMA community delivery manager Joel Boyd said that this initiative is just the beginning of having these groups work together more closely to document cultural values, stories, memories and the Aboriginal community’s connection to the Wimmera River.

Photo above, from left to right: Heather Marks, Belinda Marks, Sharnie Hamilton, Hazel McDonald, Noelene Douglas, Faye Marks and Sandra Knight take a moment to relax by the Wimmera River in Dimboola during River Yarns last week.Photo courtesy of Wimmera CMA.

He said among the feedback from River Yarns was a strong interest from the community in more support to create career and economic opportunities for young people.

“A lot more younger people in the Aboriginal community are showing an interest in cultural and natural resource careers, which really came through in our conversations last week,” Mr Boyd said.

“The community put forward lots of great ideas. We’ve got a lot of momentum now to do what we can to create these opportunities through projects that benefit the river and the local environment. Our focus now is to get those project ideas funded and get things happening.”

Mr Boyd said there was a lot of enthusiasm from participants.

“We heard a lot of really great cultural stories and everyone was really keen to talk and share. We ran out of time at every site we visited because people were so engrossed in their conversations.

“We had fantastic feedback from everyone involved. It’s really just the start of ongoing discussions with the local community, building partnerships and working together to create opportunities.”

The event started in Horsham then followed the Wimmera River to Dimboola, Antwerp and Jeparit before continuing to Lake Hindmarsh, Outlet Creek and Lake Albacutya. The group visited historical sites and recorded cultural use of plants and bush medicine.

It was part of the Wimmera River Aboriginal Water Project, which is bringing together local groups and individuals to officially document cultural information in the region using an Aboriginal Waterway Assessment tool. Ben Muir and Brett Harrison are leading the project.

Wimmera CMA and Barengi Gadjin Land Council coordinated River Yarns in partnership with the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations.

The Wimmera River Aboriginal Water Project is funded through the Victorian Government’s Water for Victoria program, which aims to increase the involvement of Aboriginal communities in water resource decision making.

Below: Wotjobaluk Traditional Owners near a scar tree in Dimboola during the River Yarns event last week.

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