Rustic Pathways is proud to partner with the renowned Indigenous organisation Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJs). KJ’s is a Martu organisation that aims to preserve and celebrate Martu culture, build a viable economy in Martu communities, and build pathways for young Martu to have a healthy future.
Both Rustic Pathways and KJ’s believe in the importance of sharing culture, stories and knowledge and have therefore created an on-country program for students to become immersed in the Martu way of life. Old Martu people have first-hand experience of traditional life and have extensive traditional ecological knowledge of their country. It is very important to Martu people that they can preserve and transfer this knowledge to future generations.
This is truly an Aboriginal Immersion experience like no other, rich in history and culture. References from previous schools can be provided upon request.
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), songlines, stories, ceremonies, history and tangible materials such as occupation sites, objects and artefacts.
For more information on Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa watch these videos on Vimeo:
Below is a general outline of the itinerary we have developed with KJ. Much of what happens out on Martu country is unscripted and it’s important to come with an open mind.
Welcome to the East Pilbara! Rustic Pathways’ staff will meet you upon arrival. We’ll load the vans and set-up camp in a caravan park on the outskirts of Newman.
You’ll receive a welcome and orientation about the week ahead, get to know your program leaders, play some games and sleep under the stars!
Overnight: Camping, Newman
These five days will be spent with leaders and rangers from the Martu organisation Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJs). KJs looks after Martu culture and helps build sustainable Martu communities. Two of KJ’s main focuses are land management and leadership development; their team of rangers manages the Martu native title area spanning 15 million hectares!
This immersion requires a high ratio of Martu leaders, with approximately 15 – 17 Martu leaders on the camp with your group. The impact this has on visiting students is profound.
On Monday morning, we’ll drive out towards a community called Parnngurr, approximately 5 hrs drive from Newman along dirt roads. Set-up camp on Martu country, approximately 40 minutes-drive from Parnngurr, and get to know the Martu leaders who’ll be sharing their country with you over the next few days. Expect the unexpected! Much of what will happen over these five days cannot be scripted.
Tuesday to Thursday will involve cultural immersion activities including hunting and gathering bush foods, cooking, hikes to waterholes, and learning about Martu cultures. You’ll be assigned to a Martu skin group, learn about history of the Martu, and hear first-hand stories of the first contact Martu had with white people in the desert. Get to know Martu leaders on a personal level and build a deep understanding of their traditional and contemporary life. You’ll also be involved in community service work in Parnngurr community and assist the rangers with some environmental tasks.
Watch the movie Contact while out on Martu land, featuring footage of the first-ever encounters some Martu had with white man in 1964! Visit locations of the Rabbit Proof Fence and meet people from Jigalong community, where three stolen girls returned by walking 2,400km from Perth.
On Friday, pack up camp and head back into Newman to visit the Aboriginal Arts Centre (Martumili) before an evening service project with local kids at the Youth Centre.
Overnight: Mon-Thurs – Camping on Martu Country, near Parnngurr
Fri – Camping, Newman
These two days will be spent at the majestic Karijini National Park. Here you will explore and immerse yourself into rugged landscapes, stunning gorges, and breathtaking waterfalls and sparkling rockpools. Once we get there, we will talk about the history of the park, put on our hiking shoes and head off hike through Dale’s Gorge to Fortesque Falls and Fern Pool. Then venture to Hancock Gorge and Weano Gorge to climb through chasms and swim in waterholes. It’s a day full of adventure with lots of exploring, so make sure have your camera and your water bottle handy!
On the final night we’ll wrap-up our trip with a Rustic Ties ceremony and reflect upon the incredible experiences and learning over the last week.
Overnight: Eco-Cabins, Karijini National Park
Rising early, today we’ll make our way back to Newman. Your Rustic leaders will farewell you in Newman as you begin the journey home.
Welcome home – we hope you have loved your time in the East Pilbara!
Overnight: In your own bed 🙂