Aboriginal affairs

Djeran dance at Fremantle

Whadjuk/Balladong Nyoongar Artist Jade Dolman teaching children at the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Fremantle.

The City of Fremantle is trying to bring Aboriginal culture to the wider community through art and community programs these school holidays.

The Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre, established as a part of Fremantle’s Reconciliation Action Plan, aims to teach Nyoongar culture through art, language and movement.

The programs are facilitated through local and national Aboriginal people who share their cultural knowledge and skills.

Djeran is the Nyoongar season of April/May.

Whadjuk/Balladong Nyoongar artist Jade Dolman is running school holiday programs centred around language, traditional song, dance and tools.

Coordinator of Community Development at the City of Fremantle Naomi Christensen said the programs have been successful in closing the gap through human connection.

‘We did a living library, with three people with stories to tell from an Aboriginal health perspective, maybe justice, their personal experiences, their first hand stories,” she said.

“It was incredible how we could build this connection and this understanding in just 15 minutes – it was a really educational process.”

Christensen said Fremantle council has been a leader in this area.

“The City of Fremantle is really committed to community development” she said.

“They were prepared to stand up against the Federal Government in finding an alternative celebration [from Australia Day] for our country that is inclusive.

“There’s a little bit of courage that comes into that, a little bit of being prepared to face the criticism and not stay on the safe side.”

Christensen says we have come a long way in closing the gap, but there is still work to be done.

“We want to see massive changes in our lifetime, and we might not because history tells us that these things take a lot longer than 50 years,” she said.

“”We’ve come a long way, and we’ve got a long long way to go.”