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Yiriman Project update

Since 2011 we've been honoured to present a stage named for one of our local music heroes, Dean Turner, and proud to be supporting the Yiriman Project in his name.

During this period you have raised over $25,000 which goes directly into programs devoted to helping Aboriginal youth in the Kimberley region (including a devastating suicide rate of 1 in 1,200) by taking them ‘back to Country’ in the company of their Elders, where they can begin to reconnect with their culture and strengthen their sense of identity.

We just received an update from Yiriman and wanted to share the amazing work they've been doing and how they've been putting the money raised from Laneway fans to good use:

Hello from the Yiriman Project! 

We’re in the midst of our busiest time of year during the dry season here in the Kimberly. With the ongoing support of all the Laneway fans, much has been made possible this year for our program and our community. 

As you know, the Yiriman Project is an intergenerational, “on-Country” Aboriginal Cultural Program conceived, developed and run directly by Elders from four language groups-Nyikina, Mangala, Karajarri and Walmajarri-in the Kimberly.

Earlier this year, we attended the Laneway festival in Perth, where we held our first formal market booth, displaying hand-made goods such as bush medicine products, seed jewelry, art, books and plant-dyed cloth. All products are made utilizing the traditional plant knowledge of our Elder women, which is passed on to younger women during our bush trips and remote community programs throughout the year.  The women were proud and grateful for the opportunity to showcase not only their products, but to make new friends at the festival and to share with others how important the work of Yiriman and the passing on of traditional knowledge to the next generations is to the community.  It was a big moment for everyone, and the smiles in the photo say it all!

In our ongoing projects in bush medicine, seed and plant collecting, and jewelry making, we continue to work with a variety of other regional organisations as we help support each other in the areas of men’s and women’s health, young mothers support, suicide prevention, and social enterprise training.  In addition to these ongoing programs, we have completed several big On-Country trips this season. 

One trip on Walmajarri Country in June included an extended family group traveling out to visit a very special Cultural site, where two of our eldest women told the stories they keep for that place to the younger generations.  Stories were passed on and recorded, painting and art projects expressing everyone’s experience unfolded at the site, and all engaged in traditional hunting and collecting of wild bush tucker. A majority of participants of all ages had never visited the site so it was a special trip for all. 

Another significant On-Country trip on Walmajarri Country included working in partnership with the local Indigenous ranger group to survey and document a specific Cultural area of the desert in search of significant waterholes and cultural sites.  Much information was gathered and documented utilizing the knowledge of the Elders working in partnership with the rangers and younger generations from their extended family groups.

In a month’s time, everyone is excitedly looking forward to Yiriman’s participation at the Kimberly Aboriginal Law and Culture festival, expected to draw hundreds of people from across the region.  The Yiriman women will be hosting a group of men and women from the Central Desert community of Mutijulu (the Traditional Owners of Uluru) before and at the festival.  We are busily preparing for their visit, when we will take them to visit local areas and to meet with many partner organisations, such as women’s centres, men’s shed’s and Cultural Health organisations. The visit will provide a great opportunity for the exchange of ideas and Cultural connections so crucial to strengthening communities and Culture. 

You can visit the Yiriman website at yiriman.org.au for further information about our organization and current projects.

Thanks to all of you for your support. The littlest bit goes a long way to support so many people, and every bit counts as we go forward working to strengthen Culture, and our future generations.

Gratefully yours,

The Yiriman Team

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