Preserving culture at heart of project
A love of song has mobilised a Ngarluma man to pass on Pilbara Aboriginal cultures to the youngsters of Roebourne, who will then showcase their new knowledge in a theatre and dance show.
The project was the idea of Ngarluma man Patrick Churnside, who with not-for-profit organisation Big hART, has secured $99,000 of Federal funding out of a $3 million allotment to 59 projects nationwide.
Mr Churnside has worked previously with the organisation for the national tour of the stage show Hipbone Sticking Out, which is about the history of the Pilbara through the eyes of John Pat, who died in custody in Roebourne in 1983.
Mr Churnside said they would work with the youth of Roebourne in workshop sessions with elders.
He said they would encourage the youngsters to learn about the cultural value of Jawis/Tjaabis (short form traditional songs from the Pilbara) and the accompanying stories.
“This work will be very important in not only capturing the vital knowledge of stories, song and dance, but to see the transference of this knowledge … through generations of the elders who lived and worked on country, down to the generation of indigenous youth in the community today,” he said. “Some of the songs I’ve been singing are traditional songs that belong to my family and ancestors, and I guess that sort of drives me to keep going ... keep learning about it more than anything now.
“Especially now that I see a lot of the culture side is not so much being lost but I guess not being learnt enough, and it needs to be practised more than ever now.”
Mr Churnside said the final show would be a cultural event comprising song and dance out of collaborations with other artists, the community workshop sessions and on country field trips gathering, capturing and documenting the transfer of language, culture, songs and stories.