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Friendship between the Ngarinyin Community and the Zonta Club of Perth.

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Presentation on theme: "Friendship between the Ngarinyin Community and the Zonta Club of Perth."— Presentation transcript:

1 Friendship between the Ngarinyin Community and the Zonta Club of Perth

2 Acknowledgement To the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nations, who are the traditional owners of the land on which this convention takes place.

3 The problem…here and now Generations of kids in one family abused Imre Salusinszky Patricia Karvelas Perpetrators of sexual assault in Aboriginal communities have frequently abused at least three generations of children in one extended family, a new report has found. Everything in the bush must change - Editorial The days when indigenous Australians in remote communities are left to rot by the state must end forever… Weekend Australian June 24-25

4 Death rate of WA infants by location – Remote Rural Metro Death rate per 1000 births Non AboriginalAboriginal

5 The problem…here and now Weekend Australian June Emergency surgery Lara Wieland, Richard Heazlewood, Clive Hadfield, Peter Thorn First, we must stress that many of the populations we are talking about are like a beaten dog: bruised, suppressed, neglected and subdued. Within these communities are strong people trying to do the right thing, but they are struggling with weekly funerals, traumas and large numbers of children, theirs and others they are trying to care for in a dysfunctional, traumatic and neglected environment. Could our club help by teaming up with strong women from the communities?

6 Women are a potent force … Women Sitting: (Jukurrpa Artists) Women seen… as integrated energy fields composed of same energies as the world around them.. (Jenks 2004).

7 Aim How are our energy fields combining? Zonta Club of Perth to form a lasting friendship with women from the Ngarinyin community in the Kimberley region of Western Australia

8 Overview The partners: Ngarinyin & Zonta Making the connection The ‘White Angel’ and beyond The next steps

9 Who are the Ngarinyin people? Custodians of oldest figurative art in NW Australia (Gwion Gwion) Wandjina spiritual sanctuary –200,000 sq km –Continuous culture 60,000 years –3 tribes Ngarinyin Wunambal Worrorra Wandjina is a philosophy & spirituality…invoking intense energy

10 Traditional law handed down by Wandjina Symbols in landscape and energy patterns –In the land there is power –Paintings give people energy Land is about sharing and relationships Ngarinyin traditions Aboriginals are ‘pattern thinkers’ – no ownership exists, only ‘belonging’ Non Aboriginals are ‘triangle thinkers’ – bosses with power over others down triangle

11 Forced off tribal lands in 1950s –Returning in 1990’s Proud of their culture –Established Bush University 1997 –2000 Olympics, Wandjina symbol at opening ceremony Ngarinyin in the news… Recent books have highlighted Ngarinyin art and culture

12 Worldwide service organisation –34,000 members –Business and professions Advancing status of women worldwide Links to UN What is Zonta International? Niger Bosnia Mastectomy pillows Australia Birthing kits Many projects undertaken overseas and locally

13 The Zonta Club of Perth Inc Zonta Club of Perth –Founded in 1971 –Supports women Projects Awards Most members –Advantaged Australians –Metro area Few members had met indigenous women or had opportunity to make friends with them

14 Overview The partners: Ngarinyin & Zonta Making the connection The ‘White Angel’ and beyond The next steps

15 Making a connection Kathy Charlesworth –An identity in the Kimberley –Friend to the Ngarinyin people –Actively working to support them since 1993 Two met at an Expo and discussed opportunities for cultures to get to know each other and help each other as friends Sciona Browne –Entrepreneur –Zonta member

16 Ngarinyin social structure Sciona, Zontian Kathy, go between Pansy, Ngarinyin –Social order disrupted by Alcohol abuse Marijuana use –Traditional power base shifted Senior law women emerged in major decision making roles Sciona, Kathy, Pansy (Ngarinyin elder) discussed –Collaborative projects –Improve conditions for children and grandchildren

17 Zonta Visit to Kimberley Women helping women June 2004 visit –Zonta members (11) –Travelled to Kupungarri Ngallagunda –Shared stories –Listened –Learned

18 Zonta visit to the Kimberley 400kms Travelled along Gibb River Road (unsealed) –Through many river crossings Established bush camp at Kupungarri then Ngallagunda Kupungarri Ngallagunda

19 Zonta members set off on 400 Km journey from Kununurra to Kupungarri

20 Introductions Smoking ceremonies

21 Learning about bush tucker

22 Learning about the Wandjina through the local art

23 Learning about local cultures: face painting clapping sticks

24 Discussing business opportunities –Licenses and royalty fees to use art and words on products

25 Listening and caring

26 Two families of women had come together…and were connected

27 Overview The partners: Ngarinyin & Zonta Making the connection The ‘White Angel’ and beyond The next steps

28 Yvonne Burgu identifies problem for Ngallagunda community –70 people Approaching monsoon rains –Local store closed - nearest store two hours away through rivers –No four wheel drive –No way to collect bush tucker –No way to access sacred sites for ‘law business’ Choice: move to Derby or starve The White Angel and beyond Previous years –Community moved to Derby (400kms away) –Drugs and alcohol –Wrecked families

29 Kathy and Yvonne came up with solution Paint canvasses to sell so can buy four wheel drive The White Angel and beyond Ask Zonta friends to help

30 The Art Exhibition

31 Newspaper coverage

32 The Launch

33 The Social Side

34 Smoking ceremony Yvonne brought special ‘Guru’ Cypress wood from the Kimberley for the smoking ceremony

35 Finances sorted Car extras added –Snorkel for river crossing –Cover for back to keep out dust –Kangaroo bar on front The White Angel

36 White Angel loaded with food, clothes and household items The Journey Home

37 Traditional ceremonies at sacred sites Rock art paintings maintained Hunting for traditional foods –green plum Improved health –White Angel back up for community nurse Families connected and together The Impact of the White Angel Ngallagunda and Kupungarri communities stayed on their lands during the wet season for first time in years…

38 Yvonne and Kathy’s courage inspired those around them –Every cent they owned went on driving to Perth and buying materials Yvonne blossomed –Leader –Artist The Impact of the White Angel

39 Yvonne noted: –Working with Zonta mob was the first time she hadn’t been ‘bossed over’ by Gardia (white fellas). Reflections… “I am free now, to really help my people”

40 Overview The partners: Ngarinyin & Zonta Making the connection The ‘White Angel’ and beyond The next steps

41 Mentorship programs –Indigenous university students Collaboration between –Universities –Residential Colleges –Federation of University Women The Next Steps - mentoring

42 Ngarinyin women to visit Perth –Zonta law and culture Zonta women return to Ngarinyin country The Next Steps - visits

43 Ngarinyin communities riddled with –Diabetes –Heart disease –Kidney disease Help friends to improve health and welfare –Child health –Food and nutrition The Next Steps - health Walk the talk

44 The End Result Zonta members are friends that can help with paperwork, health issues, mentor students, source clothes and advocate on the Ngarinyin women’s behalf Ngarinyin women provide inspiration to the Zonta members by sharing their art, care for their communities, culture and connectedness with their land.

45 The energy fields have connected…. The groups now meet as sisters and help each other as friends.

46 Wonderful things happen when women get together to help women... Joan Kirner, former Premier of Victoria Wonderful things happen when women get together to help women... Joan Kirner, former Premier of Victoria


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