A lot of effort has gone into increasing collaboration and partnership building within the community. Each organisation faces its own challenges and needs the support of a broader network. This involves a lot of positive reinforcement and helping people “join the dots” to see the bigger strategic picture. It is rewarding to help people come to the realisation that they have more in common than difference, and to realise that it is mutually beneficial to work together. People are leaving their individual ‘silos’. Key organisations include Patta Aboriginal Corporation and Papula Aparr-Kari to help drive broader community leadership and education resource development.
A focus on working in partnership to improve educational outcomes has underpinned this work. For example:
Connecting with Youth
There were several attempts to connect the Tennant Creek Youth Leadership Group with the Maningrida Youth Group as part of the WCE initiative. This came to fruition through the delivery of the Remote Indigenous Youth Leadership Summit (RIYLS) held in November 2016. Three youth from the region attended the Remote Indigenous Youth Leadership Summit in November 2016. This included youth currently disengaged from study. Two representatives contributed to a panel discussion about the educational aspirations of Indigenous youth during the Indigenous Leaders’ Conference. The visit sparked interest in a number of potential study areas including arts, music, environment, health and various trades.
Yirrkala & Tennant Creek Youth visiting CDU together in September 2015.
Youth from the six communities WCE worked met in Darwin at the Remote Indigenous Youth Leadership Summit in November 2016.
The intention is that these community relationships developed, and interest generated during WCE will that the young people involved will continue to meet and to flourish beyond the completion of the WCE initiative. For example: The WCE mentor also supported three youth group members to submit applications to the NT Chief Ministers Round Table and two of these applications were successful. The two youth representatives now attend these meetings regularly.
Tshanka Storey and Kaade Green were successful in participating at the Indigenous Human Rights Training organised by UNSW
Working with Community Organisations such as Patta Aboriginal Corporation or Papulu Apparr-kari
The WCE team has worked closely with the Patta Aboriginal Corporation who administers land on behalf of the Patta Warumungu people. Their ownership was recognised by the Tennant Creek No.2 decision of September 2007. The corporation also seeks to provide leadership in terms of overall community development in the region including education and socio-economic development. Collaborative work with WCE has included updating the membership register and dealing with non-compliant members; support for the November AGM; exploring ways Patta can help unify the broader development of the region and influence education and training outcomes; and working on collective effort to address the substantial challenges facing the community as a whole. The Chairperson, Richard James, has expressed his appreciation for WCE support in getting Patta “up and running” again.
Papulu Apparr-kari (PAK), the Indigenous language centre in Tennant Creek, is responsible for the preservation, maintenance, and revival of the 16 indigenous languages of the Barkly Region. They currently run the Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) to support parents (or carers or guardians) to ensure that their children of compulsory school age are enrolled in school and attending school regularly. WCE staff have regularly engaged PAK and explored opportunities for working together. This included: a)working with youth and substance misuse services to provide
better drug and alcohol education programs to the schools; and b) strengthening the Family as First Teachers approach in local communities and c) influencing NT curriculum development to make it more inclusive and welcoming.
PAK is also open to working on apps for the six main language groups. Using a local community development model it is possible to build language and culture applications to work on a range of devices including iPhone. There is some capacity to do it locally but additional support would fast track the process. During its’ association with WCE PAK recognised that there is scope for much better integration with the school system to deliver language and cultural support projects. In particular, more translation could be done for school materials in both written and audio formats to
make information more accessible. Progress on this is unknown at time of writing.
Involving the Government agencies
There has been a strengthening of partnerships with the NT Department of Education over a number of facets. This includes the work with the schools, which encompasses teacher forums and classroom support, resource development and community engagement. We have maintained regular dialogue with the Regional Director about our work in the Barkly region with the three schools, Tennant Creek Primary School , Tennant Creek High School and Alekarenge Primary School. In the latter half of 2016 the WCE team led discussions about proposed broader regional reforms including issues based around increased cultural relevance and improved indigenous governance; changes to local education practices; language, literacy and numeracy ‘catch-up’; system reforms; and community development.
The Department linguist has also continued to work with WCE staff around embedding language and culture classes into the school. She is supporting the organisation of a Warumungu Conference in 2017.
Regular meetings have been held between WCE and the local Indigenous Engagement Officer within Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Discussions have revolved around key themes relating to culture and governance; curriculum development; and employment prospects.
The WCE team continued to meet with Catholic Care to continue their work in the schools around embedding language and culture classes embedded into the schools.
Meetings have been facilitated between BIITE, CDU and the Department of Health to work together to support Indigenous students interested in primary health care; and to strengthen VET in schools opportunities in Primary Health Care and Disability support worker training.
Valda from WCE working closely with CDU at Tennant Creek Career Expo
Valda and Geoffrey setting up a booth at Alekerange Family Day