Djuŋadjuŋa Yunupiŋu – Cultural Custodian and member of Advisory Council. Galiwin’ku, Elcho Island.
We are now living in a modern world, in two worlds, Balanda (white fella) and Yolŋu, if we learn Balanda system all the time and teach the children Balanda westernised culture that is very difficult for them. Our expectation is for Yolŋu to hold their heritage, their culture, their song and dance, how to play yidaki, they should be taught. I want to see culture in schools as often than literacy. They can learn both, Yolŋu and Balanda, white man’s law and Yolngu law. Through the SharingStories program the children are learning both ways, they are trying to express from their own heritage, from their own culture, from their own land their stories and try to make a bridge between themselves and other communities with technology, sharing and telling who they are.
It is an incredible project and one of the things I was focusing on was taking the kids to the field (Country), from looking at theory at school all the time I want them to be taken to the field, where they can experience a life, a real life, where the wind can speak to them, where the land can speak to them, where the water can speak to them, the environment of the nature can tell them who they are. Children have to know who their ancestors are and their link to land and animals; about every creation in this land that we dance or perform or sing about. This story has to be maintained to educate them, so they’ll learn Yolŋu stories instead of Balanda stories, understand their connections to the land, find the real meaning of where we come from and why we are here.
William Watson – Deputy Chairman Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALACC)
Blackfella way we start from the roots and work up, you get the stories from the ground; that is where the roots start, from the ground. You don’t plant your tree on a rock or on a building, you plant it in the ground and it has to hold so it can be strong.
Our old people are our roots. We have to get our story right from the old people and record them for the future, for the young generation and that’s what we’re doing with SharingStories.
Roy Wunyumbi Ashley – Elder and cultural custodian and cultural facilitator with SharingStories program in Wugularr.
I’m worried about something for all my family around here, I try to teach them properly so they can have their really law, really culture, otherwise government come and take our land. They say ‘you got no culture, you just floating around, you got no culture, no law’. That’s why we trying to support these young people to learn something, that’s why we trying to put it in the school for the new generation, it’s really important for them. It’s important to record it like that (SharingStories digital workshop), because we want to put something there for them in the school, to learn something, for that new generation growing up.