NACC NRM’S First Cultural Exchange Between WA Aboriginal Rangers

This month we brought our Rangers together for one of our Regional Meetings, this time on Yued Country. The first local Aboriginal history the group participated in was at Lake Thetis in an exchange of Aboriginal Knowledge. The conservation of this site is supported through The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

To commence proceedings Yued Elder Charlie Shaw welcomed the combined group to Country and invited all to enjoy their time on boodja.

For the first time, Rangers from another region joined the MARP teams, NACC NRM was pleased to be able to host members of The Goldfields Land and Sea Council Ranger Program (GLSC). This cross-regional exchange was welcomed and provided a lot of discussions as the Kalgoorlie Rangers were introduced. 

The group learned about the Yued’s ancestors who had once lived in the Corner of Lake Thetis, their Tribe once had fresh clean water that they could live off, as well as fish from it.

“There were quite a few varieties of fish that were once in these waters,” said Chris Shaw. 

This site is now a pleasure to visit and share Traditional and western knowledge, with the boardwalk enabling easy access and allowing the group to walk around the edges and take a good look at the Stromatolites and how they were formed.

“The Thrombolite are cluttered structures that lie on the Lakes edge” continued Chris.

All the participants were amazed, these are the first sign of oxygen on the Earth. The signage displays ‘’From the Earth’s Earliest Era.’’ Everywhere in our river systems, we have our Rainbow Serpents looking after them and the country surrounding.

GLSC Ranger Shannon Dimer commented “Well it’s an interesting place with culture and it’s interesting to see how the Stromatolites are still there and basically that’s how we see how we are connected from those that are the first contact of oxygen made in the earth.”

The Pinnacles was the next stop. This place holds special meaning for KMAC Ranger Kane Shaw. Kane told the Yued story of the massacre that had occurred amongst the ancestors, and how the Pinnacles that stand represent them.

Western Mulga Ranger Beau Walley said “The story behind the Pinnacles was so interesting, good natural place to look at and quite good for first experience”.

The Following day continued the On-Country sharing for the group with breakfast hosted by the Kwelena Mambakort Aboriginal Corporation on Wedge Point. 

“It’s a great meeting place how they have completed their home, within the Corporation, and as a hub for the Rangers” said NACC NRM Program Coordinator Priscilla Papertalk, “It holds a lovely area where the yarning circle is held” she continued.   

During the morning KMAC Aboriginal Rangers that contributed to the recent seed collection initiative for Aboriginal Woman attended, with Yued Ranger and artist Deborah Nannup presenting the NACC NRM team with a depiction of her experience from the program. This is through her preferred method of art, as a painting, showing the walking of Country, flora, and the hands of the seed collectors. 

The group also had the pleasure of travelling to see Wedge Island. All of the visiting Rangers braved the wind and looked through a shorebird monitoring telescope, observing some of the finer details and local wildlife. Kane Shaw shared further with the group, talking of where Waakgardy roams along the beach and how there was an underground cave, until its later destruction.

To conclude the day and to ensure all participants had an opportunity to share their experiences the group all gathered around in a yarning circle and a message stick was passed around. Everyone was happy to say how they liked this Regional meeting, all participants are on the same page, and took away a shared understanding of what this event, and program at large, is all about. Sharing knowledge and empowering Aboriginal people to look after Country. 

The KMAC Rangers thanked the Kalgoorlie Rangers for coming to visit and learning their Aboriginal Knowledge of the Land. They also asked for more Rangers to be involved in such opportunities and to have the opportunity to keep this form of cross-regional engagement going.

The Kalgoorlie Rangers thanked the Yued community and NACC NRM for the opportunity. 

“It was nice to come from the desert to the Coast learning about their Culture and important places like Lake Thesis, Pinnacles, and Wedge Island” said Ranger Brendon Dimer. “They do have the same plants and animals, but we manage it differently due to the different regions, and with this Cultural exchange coming closer to connect regions is what the future is about,” continued Brendon.

The Western Mulga team expressed a desire to attend more Regional events and learn about different groups, their Culture, and work. 

Western Mulga Ranger Beau Wally said “we have not been to a place where a story can be told like that. I liked the whole Cultural Experience of the two days and listening to the stories and history of the Yued People”.

GLSC Ranger Dianne Logan spoke about the experience “I loved it, everything about it and that Cultural exchange. From your Rangers to our Rangers we do the same things but different land. Your Rangers have offered our boys to go to your land. Just learning cultural significance and science. We are from dreaming and there is merit in a scientific way. Doing the same thing you guys looking after land and preserving the land.”

As NACC NRM’s newest team member, Priscilla took learning from her first Regional Meeting. “So we have this Cultural Exchange between different Aboriginal Rangers, I have listened to them all, I told everyone I was connected to the Kimberly rangers through my nephew” she said, “I am involved with all the Rangers in the Pilbara around Karratha back down to Mardie Station. We have so many opportunities to build upon the wants of this group”.  

Everyone at this Regional Meeting was in agreeance, Culture Exchange represents a great opportunity for Aboriginal Rangers, there needs to be more of it with more Aboriginal Rangers looking after Country in Western Australia.

Through the Mid-West Aboriginal Ranger Program, the National Indigenous Australians Agency is supporting this community-driven outcome.

It was a privilege hosting the Goldfields Land and Sea Council Aboriginal Rangers and sharing traditional ecological knowledge with each other. It was also wonderful to see what progress has been made over the last couple of months for our Aboriginal Ranger teams and look forward to seeing what leaps and bounds they can achieve over the next couple of months.

Priscilla Papertalk – Aboriginal Custodianship Program Coordinator

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