Cultural Awareness Program

Yalu Marngithinyaraw worked in collaboration with Shepherdson College on a cultural awareness program delivered by local cultural advisers with the participation of all teaching staff. The program provides in-depth information on Yolngu culture through workshop discussions that create opportunities for team teachers to negotiate the intercultural classroom dynamics.

Cultural awareness training led by Yalu

Yalu Marngithinyaraw is working in collaboration with Shepherdson College on a cultural awareness program delivered by local cultural advisers with the participation of all teaching staff. The program provides in-depth information on Yolngu culture through workshop discussions that create opportunities for team teachers to negotiate the intercultural classroom dynamics.

The first few workshops presented an introduction to gurrutu, Aboriginal kinship system, discussing its complexity in identifying differing levels of relationship and understanding how reciprocal bonds of relationship work. Non-Indigenous participants were able to develop a basic understanding of what gurrutu is and how it works. This allowed them to become more familiar with the names used to describe the different family relationships. As most people working in Galiwin’ku have been ‘adopted’ into Yolngu families, it has been an opportunity for everyone to understand the kinship structure better.

The facilitators gave the participants some fun activities so people could understand how connected they are with others around them without realising it (for not fully understanding gurrutu). Adopting non-Yolngu people into their families is a way for Yolngu people to demonstrate how much they want to support everyone who lives or frequently visits their community, as explained by Evonne Mitjarrandi:

Now you know how connected you are with all the other people in this room and in this community. We are here to support you, that’s why you have been adopted into our families. You are never alone.

The facilitators explained the importance for all teachers to perform a similar gurrutu activity in class on the first day to allow students to get to know one another. The cultural advisors explained that this supports student engagement and also has a role in minimising bullying, as children become aware of their family connections with one another.

Due to the success of these workshops and for being very well received by all teaching staff, it has been requested that they continue to be delivered throughout Term 3.

Cultural Awareness Program

Balanda and Yolnu school staff working together at the cultural awareness program<br> Balanda and Yolnu school staff working together at the cultural awareness program

Drawings used at the training to explain the complex relationship system<br> Drawings used at the training to explain the complex relationship system

Cultural Awareness Program

30 January 2017

Whole of Community Engagement Initiative

Whole of Community Engagement Initiative

The Whole of Community Engagement (WCE) initiative has been operating through the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership at Charles Darwin University for the past two and half years.

23 January 2017

Evaluating WCE

We have been working hard with our partners and stakeholders to get feedback and to document and share our key findings and achievements.

Charles Darwin UniversityAustralian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges & EducationBatchelor InstituteNAILSMANTG

© 2015 Charles Darwin University

Website created by Dash Media Darwin.