One of the primary aims of this project is to create a powerful voice of Indigenous peoples living in the area of the Daly, Katherine and Waterhouse Rivers in the Northern Territory, as well as the Lower Fitzroy River in Western Australia. We have a number of key collaborators who live in the regions for this project.
I thought I'd just include a little background to the project here, as well as an outline of the various sections. Or you can just take a tour through the pages by going here. I hope you enjoy.
'Earlier this year, I received a beautiful and heart-warming message on Facebook from two of the Sharing Culture network of Advisors/Healers, Pip Gordon and Dr Miriam Rose Ungunmerr Baumann.
"Hey David Clark, we yarned up 'Sharing Culture' and Miriam said… 'David... lets grow belonging and connection'. Love to you and your family and Carlie Atkinson and Judy Atkinson… a seed planted for a sit down together up here in Nauiyu?"
This message was sent in response to me asking Pip to check whether Aunty Miriam, a remarkable spirit-filled woman known for her reflections on dadirri, wanted to collaborate with Sharing Culture.
Pip, who lives in Katherine in the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia, and I have been slowly ‘growing’ this collaborative project since then, which we have called Voices of the Rivers.
Pip has been talking to and working with Elders and other members of local Indigenous communities. She visits Miriam in Nauiyu, Daly River - which is about 260 kms from Katherine – on a fairly regular basis.
Pip later introduced me to Miliwanga (Mel) Sandy, another eminent Elder from the region, on Skype. In a second conversation, and a following letter, Mel asked if I would help Indigenous peoples in Australia.
“I hope that in your way you might support us to allow others to hear about the lives, the culture and the many stories of Indigenous People in Australia.” Mel Sandy
I felt emotional during our Skype conversation as Mel described what is happening to Indigenous peoples. And what will happen if remote Indigenous communities are closed by the government, as they are likely to do.
I was touched by Mel’s statement, “I am most honoured to be heard by you and feel grateful and thankful for our connection.”
I have to say that I felt a very strong connection as Mel talked to me on Skype. I felt her pain and the fear of her peoples about their future. I know what I must do and I feel it is like a calling. I am planning that Voices of the Rivers is a long-standing Sharing Culture project.
This project will not just be about helping Indigenous peoples. It will be about me listening to, and learning from, Indigenous peoples. And disseminating the knowledge and understanding I acquire to as many people as possible.
In May-June, I spent 18 days in the Northern Territory (NT), meeting Miriam, Pip, Mel and others who I hope with participate in the Voices of the Rivers project. I had an amazing and moving experience.'
Voices’ Collaborators: Brief biographies of our main collaborators: Miriam Rose Ungunmerr Baumann, Pip Gordon, Miliwanga (Mel) Sandy, Margaret Katherine, Tom E. Lewis and Anne Poelina.
My initial visit to the NT: I recently spent 18 days in the Northern Territory, first as part of a Cultural Tour to Nauiyu, then in Katherine and at the Barunga festival. Hear about my experiences.
Dadirri and dadirri film: Read about dadirri, as reflected upon by Miriam Rose Ungunmerr Baumann, and see a short film produced by Miriam and Pip Gordon, with support from DLAB in Sydney and Djilpin Arts in Katherine.
Adversity: The adversities faced by Nauiyu, as written by Clare Martin (former NT Chief Minister), and described in an ABC article.
Wellbeing and healing: The holistic Indigenous view of wellbeing, which is richer than western culture’s ‘mental health’, and what trauma expert Bruce Perry has to say about Indigenous healing practices and their positive impact.