A Ngarluma man heavily involved in promoting culture through the performing arts in Roebourne has been appointed to a WA committee responsible for advising on Aboriginal cultural sites and artefacts.
Late last month, Patrick Churnside was announced as one of four new members of the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee, an independent State body that assesses places and objects believed to be associated with Aboriginal people and advises the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
Mr Churnside said he was encouraged to apply because of his work promoting strong links to culture within the community, but was pleasantly surprised to be accepted as a younger applicant.
“I’m passionate about cultural awareness and education, particularly with the younger generation,” he said. “The opportunity to join the ACMC was a chance to ensure that valuable cultural material and significant sites remain protected, so that our young people can continue to connect with their culture and ancestry.”
“I am excited by the opportunity that becoming a member of the ACMC presents, and am looking forward to adding value to the process.”
Mr Churnside is chairman of Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation, recently performed in stage show Hip Bone Sticking Out and runs culture-based performing arts workshops with Roebourne young people and elders.
The other newly appointed ACMC members are Merle Carter from the East Kimberley, Bruce Smith from the Ngaanyatjarra Lands and Lindsay Dean from the South West.
Together they increase the committee from six to 10 members and boost its Aboriginal representation from two to six people.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Peter Collier said the new members brought a wealth of knowledge to the committee.
“This increase will give the Aboriginal community confidence that people with regional knowledge and cultural understanding are intimately involved in the decision-making process,” he said.
“They bring considerable experience through their important work with organisations such as the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, Kimberley Land Council, Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation and the Ngaanyatjarra Council.”
“I am confident the expanded committee will contribute strongly to the improved protection of important Aboriginal heritage across the State.”
The new members have been appointed for three-year terms.