Last Friday, the Nyikina Community, in partnership with SharingStories Foundation (SSF), launched an important cultural resource – Woonyoomboo: The Night Heron interactive display panel.
The Woonyoomboo creation story and songs were handed down from Darby Jayi-Kali Narngarin to his daughter Annie Nayina Milgin. The creation of this work was a journey that took place over several years. Groups of young Nyikina people explored Nyikina Country as part of the Digital Storytelling Program under the guidance of senior custodians, learning the stories and songs of Woonyoomboo: the Night Heron from the site of their creation.
The lead on the project, Nyikina Elder Annie Nayina Milgin, spoke about the importance of sharing knowledge with young people using new technologies. “We grew up with what old people gave us, passing on knowledge, but our old people they didn’t know how to read and write. They usually used a message stick. That’s how we learnt. But now everything has changed, and it’s a modern way, and the old people are happy, happy about the way our kids are using technology and the way they are learning languages and stories so we can keep practising our culture.”
Walalakoo Aboriginal Corporation Chairperson Robert Watson said, “This is an example of the importance of relationships and how others can help us achieve our goals. This is a prime example of how our Elders do their part in promoting reconciliation, closing the gap, and bridging the lack of understanding through meaningful methods – in this case, looking at the opportunity to be an educational contributor. They contribute to the growth of not only all Australians, but particularly the empowerment of local Indigenous people from this area.”
The interactive display allows all Nyikina people to learn from and share with the wider Kimberly communities so everyone visiting Jarlmadangah Burru can connect to Country. With floods and COVID-19 making travel and learning on Country a challenge over the last two years, this truly is a cause for celebration, and tourists will soon also have the opportunity to engage with the Interactive display panel when the tour bookings open later this year.
The interactive panel is one cultural resource from a suite of resources sharing the Nyikina Community’s Woonyoomboo story, including an animated film and a multi-touch book available through our catalogue. The story also has accompanying educational resources available through Jajoo Warrngara: The Culture Classroom.