14 July 2017
The second Matariki Indigenous Student Mobility programme drew to a close this week. As delegates started to travel back to their respective homes, there was much to reflect on from the previous twelve days of inter-cultural learning. The programme proved to be an extraordinary journey of shared knowledge for all.
Features of the programme in recent days included the Human Rights forum run by Assistant Professor Mel Thomas, an Acknowledgement To Country and tour of the Aboriginal Prison & Burial Grounds on Wadjemup (Rottnest Island) by Ezra Jacobs, a visit to the Caversham Wildlife Park to experience Western Australia’s fantastic endemic fauna, a visit to Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery for tastings of Western Australia bush tucker and a gallery full of Aboriginal artworks, and a visit to the Gravity Discovery Centre and Observatory to listen to Noongar celestial stories and observe the night skies.
A formal farewell was hosted by Dr Richard Walley including a message stick ‘story-circle’ allowing all delegates to critically reflect on the program and to farewell each other in traditional ways. All involved are now looking forward with anticipation and wonderment to next year’s programme, which will be hosted by colleagues at Dartmouth College.
Paying Respect at Rottnest: Students paying respect to the traditional owners, the land and spirit of Wadjemup (Rottnest Island) before embarking on an educational tour of the surrounds. Traditionally, a handful of sand mixed with one’s own sweat from behind the ear is thrown into the water whilst praying for a safe journey to explore the land is custom.
Knowing Noongar in the City: Matariki participants were educated on the Noongar history of the Swan River area with Noongar Elder Walter McGuire. The tour spoke of the richness and abundance of the land, the diversity of the people, and the wide variety of skills and practices to hunt and maintain connection to land.