Two way learning at Nowanup got a lovely boost yesterday. Curtin University staff and Noongar Elders met at Nowanup to plan out a program of learning from and supporting each other. Curtin University is expanding its program of bringing groups of students to Nowanup to camp on country and learn about Noongar culture and land management. In return these students will use their skills and knowledge to assist the Noongar people with specific projects in the Fitz-Stirling section of Gondwana Link. For example the students could assist with the design of walk trails and interpretive signage, undertake specific business plans or plan the repair and management of special places. This will involve Curtin University students from a number of faculties camping at Nowanup and contributing to Noongar aspirations across the area while they learn about Noongar culture.
Associate Professor and Curtin University Elder in Residence Simon Forrest stressed that it would be ‘the Noongar way of thinking and doing driving the things that happen here’ to support the University ‘being engaged with another world view’ underpinned by a recognition of the need to see ‘the old ways becoming the new way’.
Simon told the gathering how his students have been ‘transformed’ by their time at Nowanup with Eugene Eades. Being on country, sleeping in a tent, visiting special Noongar places, finding bush foods and medicines, hearing the Noongar songs and stories and just talking around the campfire is a very effective way for the students to explore and have insight into Aboriginal values, culture and spirituality.
Bring it on Curtin University!