Pre­serv­ing cul­ture at heart of project

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Peter de Krui­jff

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.

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