Noongar cultural heritage at Peniup

Friday 21 December, 2007
The field crew who carried out the cultural assessment. Photo Hollee WorrellThe field crew who carried out the cultural assessment. Photo Hollee Worrell.

Bush Heritage Indigenous partnership officers Ken Hayward and Sarah Eccles report on progress with the cultural values assessments throughout the Gondwana Link properties.

It's widely acknowledged within Bush Heritage that Indigenous people have a vital role to play in looking after country and in the conservation management of land throughout Australia.

Noongar traditional lands extend across Gondwana Link in south-west Western Australia, and Bush Heritage is encouraging the involvement of Noongar people in caring for country on these Gondwana Link properties.

Noongar Elder Eugene Eades on Peniup Creek. Photo: David GuilfoyleNoongar Elder Eugene Eades on Peniup Creek. Photo: David Guilfoyle.

The cultural values assessment of Chereninup Creek Reserve was completed in August (see Bush Heritage News, Spring 2007). The Elders and Noongar youth are now incorporating this information and their shared knowledge into a cultural values management plan for the reserve. The plan will also include oral histories and stories about the region from the Elders.

Now the cultural values assessment has started on nearby Peniup Creek Reserve, the latest property purchased for Gondwana Link. This property is jointly owned by Bush Heritage and Greening Australia (WA).

On Peniup Creek Reserve, Noongar youth have received cultural instruction from their Elders about spiritual connections with the land and the uses of bush tucker and medicine plants. Scatters of stone artefacts have been identified. The young people are also learning contemporary archaeology and ecological management practices from the staff of the Gondwana Link partner organisations.

Typical scatter of artefacts at Peniup Creek Reserve.Noongar Elder Eugene Eades on Peniup Creek. Photo: David Guilfoyle.

‘It is so wonderful to be back out on country with our young ones and to see the difference in the self-esteem of the youth who are participating in this project,’ said Noongar Elder Averil Dean.

These cultural values assessments have been a positive way for Noongar people, Bush Heritage staff and staff from other Gondwana Link partner organisations to work together.

The assessments help young Noongar people to build vital connections with their country and to develop skills for future employment and for later life. The assessments also bring together people with different perspectives on the land so that they can combine their knowledge into a unified plan to guide them as they look after the country into the future.

We acknowledge the Sara Halvedene Foundation for its generous support of this work.

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