Back in September, Central Regional TAFE at the Geraldton campus celebrated NAIDOC week under the theme of Heal Country!

Heal Country ‘calls for all of us to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites, and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction’ (NAIDOC 2021). TAFE’s event celebrated Heal Country with a smoking ceremony from local elder Donna Ronan, presentations from TAFE staff, the launch of TAFE’s college Aboriginal Branding project, cultural dances from the Midwest Clontarf Academy, and bush tucker tastings for lunch. For more information on smoking ceremonies read Taj Mamid’s ‘The Story Behind Smoking Ceremonies’ from the August NACC Notes (https://www.nacc.com.au/the-story-behind-smoking-ceremonies/).

TAFE Aboriginal Student Support Coordinator, Dale Forsyth

NACC NRM staff Taj and Anna were grateful to be given the opportunity to talk about NACC NRM’s programs and projects, and how our work relates to this year’s theme of Heal Country. Taj and Anna are part of the Reconciliation Action Plan group at NACC NRM. Through the Reconciliation Action Plan NACC NRM recognises the unique understanding and management skills that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have in supporting natural resource management in the region and is committed to supporting Traditional Owners in their custodianship activities. NACC NRM also supports the protection, appropriate transfer, and appropriate documentation of TEK in the NAR. This commitment encompasses the programs that we deliver within the Northern Agricultural Region Community.

Midwest Clontarf Academy performance

A special part of the event was a presentation by Nyungar Elder Clint Hansen, who spoke about what Heal Country means to him. Clint teaches Indigenous land conservation methods, including rehydrating waterways and holistic controlled burning, in the Conservation and Land Management Certificate at TAFE.

NACC NRM is proud to have sponsored Conservation and Land Management Scholarships in the past and look forward to maintaining a strong relationship into the future, with both Central Regional TAFE students and staff. We would like to thank Dale Forsyth and everyone involved with this event for having us and sharing the celebration of NAIDOC’s Heal Country.

Anna Cornell – Sustainable Agriculture Project Officer

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