Cul­ture chan­nel

Broome Advertiser - - Broome Happenings - Carly Laden

A Broome-based tourism busi­ness has been given a chance to show­case Broome to the rest of Aus­tralia.

Nar­lija Cul­tural Tours will be one of 10 WA Abo­rig­i­nal tourism busi­nesses to be fea­tured in the lat­est se­ries of Desti­na­tion WA.

The tele­vi­sion se­ries is part of the Abo­rig­i­nal Tourism De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram, a State Gov­ern­ment initiative man­aged by Tourism WA and de­liv­ered by the WA Indige­nous Tourism Op­er­a­tors Coun­cil.

The scheme al­lows the busi­nesses to be given a spot­light not just to the rest of WA, but on a na­tional scale.

Nar­lija Cul­tural Tours owner Bart Pi­gram said he felt priv­i­leged to be among the indige­nous op­er­a­tors be­ing fea­tured.

“(The other op­er­a­tors) are more ex­pe­ri­enced and have suc­ceeded in the tourism in­dus­try longer than me,” he said.

“I am still learn­ing the ropes and fol­low­ing their lead.”

Nar­lija, mean­ing “true for you” in Yawuru, has been in busi­ness since 2015 af­ter Mr Pi­gram gave Broome vis­i­tors im­promptu cul­tural tours. Mr Pi­gram, be­ing part of the large Pi­gram-Puer­tol­lano fam­ily, wanted to use his vast knowl­edge of Abo­rig­i­nal his­tory and cul­ture to con­tribute to the grow­ing Abo­rig­i­nal tourism mar­ket.

Mr Pi­gram said it was def­i­nitely heart­en­ing to see his com­pany be­ing recog­nised for its con­tri­bu­tion to tourism in West­ern Aus­tralia.

“I’m sure the other busi­nesses would agree that our op­er­a­tions aren’t just to make a liv­ing,” he said.

“It is also aligned to our liv­ing cul­ture and her­itage.”

“We visit our sig­nif­i­cant sites, speak our lan­guage, eat our tra­di­tional foods and it pro­vides an in­come.

“What bet­ter way to walk in two worlds with a strong sense of self-de­ter­mi­na­tion?”

WAITOC chief ex­ec­u­tive Robert Tay­lor said the Abo­rig­i­nal Tourism De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram was of great im­por­tance to pre­serve Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture.

“Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture is the old­est liv­ing cul­ture in the world and we should be cel­e­brat­ing that cul­ture and sup­port­ing its peo­ple as they do not have gen­er­a­tional wealth to fall back on,” he said.

“This pro­gram is a way that they can learn how to share their cul­ture to make a sus­tain­able busi­ness that will, hope­fully, be passed on to other gen­er­a­tions.”

Mr Tay­lor also be­lieves the scheme is part of the on­go­ing rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process be­tween Abo­rig­i­nal and non-Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple.

“The shar­ing of cul­ture to vis­i­tors is a heal­ing process for both Abo­rig­i­nal and non-Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple,” he said.

“While this is keep­ing the Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture alive, it is also teach­ing the vis­i­tors that Aus­tralia was pop­u­lated be­fore coloni­sa­tion and that the way of liv­ing may have been dif­fer­ent but sur­vival in such an arid coun­try was a skill that the Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple had passed on for gen­er­a­tions and still do to­day.”

Tourism Min­is­ter Paul Pa­palia said West­ern Aus­tralia of­fered some of the best Abo­rig­i­nal ex­pe­ri­ences in the coun­try.

“Abo­rig­i­nal tourism helps pro­tect and pre­serve tra­di­tional cul­ture and cre­ates jobs within com­mu­ni­ties,” he said.

“It’s great to see so many busi­nesses in this grow­ing sec­tor pro­moted through Desti­na­tion WA, thanks to sup­port from WAITOC and Tourism WA.”

Pic­ture: Carly Laden

Nar­lija Cul­tural Tours owner Bart Pi­gram at one of his tour lo­ca­tions, the Kennedy Shell Mid­den site.

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