A Celebration of Culture

By Zoya Yukhnevich • Community Development Consultant
• Projects

Bradley Hall, Chair of Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation and Melvin Farmer, Chair of Western Desert Aboriginal Corporation signing the Cultural Compact

At Creating Communities, we’re all about working with others to build strong, connected and resilient communities.

This year, as we have grappled with the challenges of COVID-19, we’ve been fortunate to continue to work on some really exciting projects.

Our team has been working on Newman Futures, a partnership project between BHP, the Shire of East Pilbara and the Department of Communities that first began in early 2019. Since inception, we have been working alongside the project partners to build a sustainable economy that is inclusive to all.

We do this by adopting collaborative approaches, and on this project, this has meant co-designing the Newman Futures strategy with Nyiyaparli, Martu, Government, business and non-government organisations to position Newman as a town ready for the future of work.

While the project goal is certainly an ambitious one, our four working parties: Culture and Country, Liveability and Wellbeing, Economy and Work, and Education and Training are each working on a range of initiatives and activities that together, will deliver positive outcomes and create a pathway forward for a stronger Newman.

One of these major initiatives has been to work towards a new mutually beneficial arrangement through which organisations and community can come together with Nyiyaparli and Martu.

One of the first steps of this was accomplished last week with the signing of a Cultural Compact between Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation and Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation.

The Cultural Compact

Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation and the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation are two important organisations in the Pilbara. Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation represents the Nyiyaparli people, and the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation represents the Martu people. As Prescribed Body Corporates, they represent two special groups of people each with their own rich and unique history.

At the community event to mark the occasion, Bradley Hall, Chair of Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation, joined with Melvin Farmer, Chair of the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation, spoke warmly about the significance of the process and what the Compact meant to them. A special Welcome to Country was also given by Stanley Watson, a senior Nyiyaparli man.

Stanley Watson gives a Welcome to Country

The Shire of East Pilbara, BHP, and the Creating Communities team were pleased to be able to stand alongside these two groups as we celebrated this very historic moment for the Newman community.

BHP Principal of Corporate Affairs, Chris Cottier chaired the event and said he was “proud to have been able to work so closely with both Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation and the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation on this journey”.

In true Newman style, families enjoyed a sausage sizzle, children played on the grass and parents, colleagues and friends enjoyed watching the short Youth Voices film directed by local filmmakers, Curtis Taylor and Nathan Mewitt, along with a special screening of the documentary In My Blood It Runs.

Shire of East Pilbara CEO Jeremy Edwards enjoying the event with the community

The Cultural Compact, and in fact the foundation of the Newman Futures strategy is based around Kujunkarrinjanka. It’s a Martu word and it means “Coming Together”. With Newman Futures’ four key working parties and a range of current initiatives across various sectors, Kujunkarrinjanka is everything that Newman Futures is about. It’s a powerful word that unites different community members, each with our own strengths to work together to ensure a brighter future for everyone in Newman, with a strong economy and a powerful, united community.

 Stepping out strongly together is what Creating Communities is all about. It's been a privilege to co-design and initiate Newman Futures with Bradley, Melvin, Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation, Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation and all the other committed Newman Futures stakeholders and founding partners including BHP, Shire of East Pilbara and the Department of Communities. 

— Donna Shepherd AM Managing Director, Creating Communities

With the Compact signed and the celebration finished, now comes the exciting part – where local businesses, not-for-profits and community groups and members can get involved and support new ways of building prosperity for all in Newman.

A big thank you goes out to Bradley Hall and the Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation team, Melvin Farmer and the team at Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation, Chris Cottier and Sue Michoff from BHP, Shire of East Pilbara President Lynne Craigie and CEO Jeremy Edwards, Shire Councillors and everyone else who has supported the Cultural Compact work to date!

And for our team at Creating Communities, we are excited to begin working with the Newman community on this next chapter.