Miriwoong Language Class
The Governor and Mrs Dawson joined a Miriwoong language class at East Kimberley College.

Out and about in Kununurra

On their final day in the region, the Governor and Mrs Dawson spent the day visiting community services in Kununurra.

East Kimberley College
The morning was started by visiting East Kimberley College which caters for children from K-12. 

Shooting Stars, Follow the Dream and the Clontarf Academy are just a few of the programs being run to support, encourage and empower students.
Clontarf Foundation Academy
The Clontarf Academy aims to improve the education, discipline, life skills and self-esteem of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and equipping them to participate meaningfully in society.
There are currently 105 students in the Clontarf Academy at East Kimberley College. 35 of those are in primary school and 70 in high school.
The Governor and Mrs Dawson with students in the Clontarf Foundation Academy.
The Governor and Mrs Dawson with students in the Clontarf Foundation Academy.

Academy attendees spoke with the Governor and Mrs Dawson about their time in the program, the opportunities they have pursued and how they try to set the best example for their siblings and class mates.

The Governor is Patron of the Clontarf Foundation.

Shooting Stars

The Governor and Mrs Dawson were briefed on arrival in the Shooting Stars room by Abby, a Year 12 student who has been part of the program for the past few years on the program and how it has benefitted her school journey.

The program supports and empowers leadership, culture and identity in Aboriginal girls and women.

Shooting Stars Program participant Abby addresses the Governor and Mrs Dawson and provides an outline of the program and it's benefits.

Follow the Dream

Run by the Polly Farmer Foundation, Follow The Dream encourages students to ‘dream big’ in a setting that is supportive and fosters a sense of belonging.

An academically focused program, students have after school tutoring available to help them succeed and achieve their goals. 

Students sign a contract co-signed by their caregiver and teacher that outlines their goals and maps out how they intend to achieve them. The program offers opportunities to visit universities and goal setting lunches.

Follow the Dream student studying for upcoming exams.
Follow the Dream student speaks with the Governor and Mrs Dawson about his background and aspirations.
Shooting Stars program director talks to how the program is run and how students are selected.

Miriwoong Language Class

The Governor and Mrs Dawson joined a Year 5 Miriwoong language class.

Run by teachers from the Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language Centre, students are immersed in the language and learn common words and phrases such as ‘Gerdewoon’ (boab nut), ‘Joogoorroong’ (bush orange) and ‘Mayeng’ (bush tucker).

Miriwoong Language Class

Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre

The Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre was established in the 1970s to preserve, analyse and record the language and culture of the Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng people, the original people of the Kununurra region.

Miriwoong is a critically endangered language group with very few fluent speakers left.

Director David Newry and Chief Executive Officer Knut “KJ” Olawsky spoke on the findings that loss of language affects culture and identity and how they are trying to preserve the language for the future including the development of the Miriwoong Mobile App. The app includes a dictionary of over 1,400 words and phrases.

The Governor and Mrs Dawson speak with KJ at the MDWg

Binarri-binyja yarrawoo Aboriginal Corporation (BBY)

BBY is the backbone organisation for Empowered Communities East Kimberley (ECEK), a collective impact initiative for Aboriginal-led reform in the region.

BBY drives the implementation of the Empowered Communities model in the East Kimberley.

The Governor and Mrs Dawson received a briefing from Des Hill, Merle Carter, Jean O’Reeri and Natasha Short. They outlined how they consult with the communities in the region on the issues they are facing and how they collate and use the data to push change. 

BBY Directors explain their future plans.
The Governor and Mrs Dawson with BBY Directors.

Their goal is simple, ensure a community where everyone is healthy, has a good home and a strong purpose and sense of culture. They have a current focus on children and want them to have the same opportunities as non-indigenous children.

Empowered Young Leader Program (EYL)

The Governor and Mrs Dawson are passionate about encouraging and listening to our young future leaders.

Dwesmond Wiggan-Dann and Stewart Jane (pictured below) are passionate and want the same thing for the young people in the Kimberley.

The Empowered Young Leader Program was convened as a result of high suicide rates in the region and amplifies the voices and concerns of those young people.

Two representatives from each culture block in the Kimberley will sit on the committee and bring forward the concerns and issues from their communities. This will give the future leaders a voice at the table where they currently don’t have one. Membership is available for those aged 13 – 40 years old.

The Governor and Mrs Dawson with Dwesmond Wiggan-Dann and Stewart Jane.

MG Corporation

The Governor stopped by MG Corporation to thank Marcia Gerrard for her recent assistance and support to Foodbank WA. 

During the recent Kimberley floods, Ms Gerrard providing a distribution location for Foodbank hampers and ensured they were distributed.

MG Corp - Carol Hapke Marcia Gerrard

Waringarri Aboriginal Corporation

Led by Chief Executive Officer Des Hill, Waringarri Aborginal Corporation provide support services to families and youth in Kununurra.

The organisation incorporates culture into everything they do and feel it’s the most important part of their work.

The Governor and Mrs Dawson were briefed on the current services provided including school holiday activities locally and on country, school transport assistance and targeted programs for men and women.

Families who engage in the services of Waringarri Aboriginal Corporation sign up to an agreement with goals set by the children and their caregivers on things such as school attendance.

The Governor and Mrs Dawson with staff from Waringarri Aboriginal Corporation.

Storytelling Night

A night of storytelling under the stars was the perfect way to conclude the visit.

A cultural experience led by Miriwoong man Mr David Newry telling some of the stories of his people by the fire, a dance performance and a lesson in the Miriwoong language.

It was a powerful and moving evening. 

David Newry sharing his gift for storytelling.
Dancers perform a Wangga as part of Storytelling Night.
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