Rich cul­tures come to­gether

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

A cul­tural ex­change from across the ditch is help­ing to build ties be­tween two tra­di­tional owner groups sep­a­rated by some 6000km.

Last year, Rus­sell Mu­seum rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bar­rie Bell vis­ited the Ju­luwarlu Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion, where he was given a book on Yind­jibarndi cul­ture to take back to the Nga­puhi peo­ple of Kaikohe in far north New Zealand.

Now the Nga­puhi have re­paid the favour, gift­ing a book on the life of Maori Kau­matua Ri­whi Clarke to Ju­luwarlu in re­turn last week.

Mr Bell, who was tasked with pre­sent­ing the book to Ju­luwarlu, said the two cul­tures shared many sim­i­lar­i­ties.

“I think the com­mon thread here is the con­nec­tion with the land — that seems cen­tral to all the things that go on,” he said.

“The peo­ple here do so much with bush medicine, and do it so suc­cess­fully. The med­i­cal pro­fes­sion doesn’t feel com­fort­able with it, but of­ten that is the same with Maori medicine.

“Then there’s that idea of the pur­suit of ex­cel­lence — any­one can do that, given the chance, and we have got to en­cour­age Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple to see more op­por­tu­ni­ties by them­selves.”

Ju­luwarlu Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Lor­raine Cop­pin said it was heart­en­ing to get recog­ni­tion for the work of the cor­po­ra­tion.

“We pub­lished a cou­ple of books, which we gave to Bar­rie as a present to take back to his home­land and once Bar­rie got home, he showed a cou­ple of the el­ders over there and they were re­ally ap­pre­cia­tive of the book,” she said.

“That’s why we brought Kelvin and Henry (Jer­rold) — they have sort of been down that path of be­ing on coun­try suf­fer­ing in­jus­tice of so­ci­ety back then, so they can re­late to the old fel­las’ story.

“It’s sim­i­lar to our story — the Aus­tralian Yind­jibarndi story.”

As well as the book, a video mes­sage from Mr Clarke was watched by some Yind­jibarndi el­ders at the Ju­luwarlu of­fices.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Bar­rie Bell, left, with Ju­luwarlu chief ex­ec­u­tive Lor­raine Cop­pin, Kelvin and Henry Jer­rold, and An­gus Mack.

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