In November 2015, a Youth and Elders Connecting event was facilitated by the WCE team and key community partners in Tennant Creek. It took place at the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art & Culture Centre. This attracted 19 participants involving 11 elders and eight youth. This gathering came about due to a genuine recognition among local Elders that youth needed to engage better with culture and kinship systems; and that local youth wanted to learn more about local language and culture. Facilitating a safe environment for elders and youth to share stories about education journeys – using both Western and Indigenous knowledge systems - was considered to be important. This youth and elders event event was one way of connecting youth and elders to talk about higher education and the importance of language and culture
as a grounding for youth educational journey’s.
Local school staff have repeatedly stated to WCE staff that they felt “poorly prepared” to deal with the cultural and community challenges they face. The WCE team has worked solidly to increase engagement with local schools, particularly with the Tennant Creek High School, Tennant Creek Primary School and Alekarenge School.
As a result, Elders decided to become more involved in the decision made by the school. WCE has worked with Tennant Creek High School and Tennant Creek Primary School to increase Indigenous representation on the School Councils. As a result there was an increase in Indigenous school council representation from 1 to 5 Indigenous members at Tennant Creek High School; and from 0 to 1 at Tennant Creek Primary School during 2016. This is a significant shift in Indigenous educational governance in the region. However, some representatives reported feeling “exposed and isolated” in these roles towards the end of WCE.