Perth NRM work closely with the Noongar community to preserve Noongar booja (country), Kaartadjin (knowledge), and wongin (language), as well as to identify and protect sites of cultural significance. In collaboration with Noongar people, we encourage not only Noongar participation but also Noongar ownership and control of natural resource management projects.
A highlight of the Cultural Heritage program in 2017 has been the development and success of the Six Season Walks series. The events have been hugely popular and provided the community with a window into Noongar culture and ecological understanding. A walk has been planned in a different location during each of the six Noongar seasons Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang, with a local Elder sharing knowledge with participants. The Perth community is extremely interested in the Six Season Walk program with 68 people taking part in the Bunuru and Djeran walks.
March saw the first Six Season Walk take place at the South Beach foreshore. Noongar elders Vivienne and Mort Hansen shared important aspects of Bunuru (the fruiting season) when Noongar people walked along the coast collecting fish, crabs and mussels as well as using the plant resources found along the coast line. Participants learned of the language, food, medicine and spirituality associated with Bunuru.
To compliment the walks, the Threatened Ecological Knowledge (TEK) project is progressing with the preservation of cultural knowledge provided by the Noongar elders on the six seasons walks, which will be provided on the Perth NRM website in the future. TEK project information is conserved in written, audio, and video logs, and all information remains the property of its Traditional Owners.
Noongar cultural and historic information was provided to two primary school groups and Hamilton Hill Senior High. The high school program focused on mentoring young Aboriginal women by a community leader and elder with on-country visits to important women’s sites in Perth.
Excited children from years 1 to 4 at Grovelands Primary School learned how Noongar people lived and spoke. Noongar community leader Marissa Verma taught the children basic cultural words, the language associated with family and the names of animals. At the end of the four-week course the children celebrated with the djidi djidi song and dance with traditional face paint. A similar program was undertaken at Ashfield Primary School.