A place of learning

Article image - A place of learning Aurukun IKC Flexi students Somalia and Christian digging roots for dye guided by Elder Aunty Sharon and her mother Granny Marybelle Ngallametta

Aurukun’s library has become a place of learning for young and old community members through a partnership between Aurukun Shire Council and Education Queensland.

Mayor Dereck Walpo said the partnership funded a coordinator for the Indigenous Knowledge Centre (IKC) who also ran a flexi school in the library for disengaged youth.

“We now have a library membership of more than 200 and are pleased to see community members taking an interest in historical records of Wik dancing and culture from the mission days.

“An average of seven flexi students attended in June where they focused on literacy and numeracy skills and undertook cultural and community projects.

“Under the guidance of coordinator Noel Waterman these youths have been introduced to Rio Tinto’s seed collection program where they gathered Winchan seeds to earn money to buy fishing gear.

“The boys have been visiting the Wik and Kugu Arts Centre where they worked with successful artists to collect timber and then shape it into clan poles which the artists decorated.

“Funded by a grant from the 2018 Commonwealth Games Reconciliation In Queensland Schools program, the poles represent each of Aurukun’s five clans.

“Each pole displays the traditional body art which adorns Wik dancers when they perform Maalp, a Wik corroboree to tell the stories of their country and people.

“The poles were unveiled at an Aurukun State School assembly where elders encouraged the students to join them in a traditional Maalp.

“The flexi students will next make a dugout canoe with the elders and artists currently shaping a log brought up from the landing ready for the students to chip out.

“This partnership is bringing young and old members of our community together to learn from each other and value their culture.”