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The Martu are the traditional owners of a large part of central Western Australia which extends from the Great Sandy Desert in the north to around Wiluna in the south. Across this country, Martu share a common law, culture and language.
The Martu were some of the last of Australia’s Indigenous people to make contact with European Australians with many migrating from their desert lands into neighbouring pastoral stations and missions in the 1950s and 1960s.
Like many Aboriginal people, Martu speak or understand numerous languages. For most Martu, even the children, English is a second or more language.
In 2002, the Martu were awarded native title rights to over 13.6 million hectares of the Western Desert which is referred to as the Martu native title determination. The Martu determination has enormous cultural significance to Martu. The lands are literally ‘alive’ with thousands of cultural sites (many of them water sources), song lines, stories, ceremonies, history and tangible materials such as occupation sites, objects and artefacts.
Old people have first-hand experience of traditional life and have extensive traditional ecological knowledge of their country. This provides an important and time limited opportunity to preserve and transfer this knowledge before they pass away.
The land of the Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng people covers a wide area with Kununurra at the heart of Miriwoong country. The Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng people used to live in harmony with the land from Molly Spring in the west, most of the mighty Ord River including parts of Lake Argyle and way beyond the Northern Territory border across Keep River National Park and up to the coast.
Things have changed greatly since this time and many Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng people have moved into town or adjacent communities.
The Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng people are passionate about sharing and nurturing their language and culture, together they work to build a strong, proud and respectful community where their people have a sense of who they are and the land to which they belong.
Rustic Pathways has been working with the Miriwoong community for a number of years in many different ways. Through our long-term partnerships with local organisations, Rustic Pathways supports the Miriwoong community through community service projects. These projects allow Rustic Pathways students to connect with community members and provide support to pre-existing long term projects. Students may be involved with environmental, educational or socio-economic projects that directly support the Miriwoong community.
Bardi Jawi country is bounded by sea on the eastern, northern and western sides of the Dampier Peninsula, with the southern boundary about 160kms north from Broome. Bardi Jawi people consider their country to include part of the sea, on which they depend. The main communities on Bardi country are Djarindjin, Lombadina and Ardyaloon (One Arm Point). The ocean has been pivotal in the lives of the Bardi people for many thousands of years as both a source of food and spiritual significance. Evidence of their saltwater heritage can be found in the traditional artworks and pearl shell designs.