The ‘Ngarranggarni’ is known amongst Kimberley indigenous people to be the time of Creation (the Dreamtime), where all things came into being. Indigenous Australians are a spiritual people, aware of the spirit world, of their ancestors and possess a spiritual connection to land and their ‘country’. This reality has been difficult for Governments to understand much less embrace and effectively work within.
In addition to this, Indigenous people are familiar with the ‘skin group’ system, and operate within this framework to determine their social responsibilities and obligations to those around them. Traditionally, the ‘skin group’ system also determined who a person could potentially marry, as your ‘right skin’.
Presently lacking, are sufficient mediators and reconciliatory workers who have adequate understanding of both environments and therefore equipped to bring about restoration and a repair of relationships. This is something that Kimberley Jiyigas believe should be given greater attention to, so that advancement for indigenous people, socially and economically, can take place.
Australia’s colonisation has brought significant changes to the traditional way of life and has hugely impacted on the indigenous societies of our region (there are many language groups). Today, there are many new challenges for indigenous people to navigate to keep our culture alive and passed to the next generation with women playing an important role in achieving this goal.
Still, there is huge opportunity for greater accomplishment and advancing change by empowering women and listening to the collective voices of women who have worked tirelessly on behalf of their communities, and gained the wisdom and experience of a lifetime. Women can be mobilised to achieve great things!