South Hedland celebrates
Still in South Hedland and the joy we are experiencing from this community continued with two days spent at South Hedland Primary School. The kids amazed us with their confidence, abilities, happiness and spirit. John, Tobi and myself are all parents and these kids pulled on our heart strings - they were just so delightful. Like the little Ciara Coppin who kept saying ‘Kurtiri is my waku, Kurtiri is my waku’. After a quick check of translation with Nana Janet we learnt that Charlie Coppin is her Great Grandfather. Or Trae Peters who drew a fish because fishing with his family meant a lot to him. Or the maturity displayed by the Student Councillors Shaun, Joshua, Jule, Katrina and Taiya who became honorary Marnti warajanga Guides to help the younger students with the activities. But the best one was little Alberta Rose who not only drew her family but someone else that was a secret. Tobi asked “who is that?” She whispered in his ear “It’s you”. Tobi was stoked and every time the image came up he would point “that’s me.” It was a nice role reversal from being the one who always captures people’s images, to having his portrait captured by someone else.
After South Hedland Primary School we set up at Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre for the official launch and community celebration event which occurred in true Marnti warajanga uniqueness. It was a fantastic event that included traditional dancers set against the backdrop of a flaming BBQ and live music by Peter Flan and the Country Boys. How we managed to squeeze 150 people including the band, BBQ and exhibition, all into Wangka Maya’s centre was an amazing feat. It was great to see so many local organisations come along and celebrate. So too was hearing Lorraine Injie’s powerful speech along with Chris Cottier, Senior Manager Community and Indigenous Affairs BHP Billiton speak about how this initiative is being so well received in the Pilbara.
Reflecting on our achievements at South Hedland, we saw a total of 760 students from three schools, who attended 20 one hour long sessions broken into 36 groups which included 12 photographic workshops, over four days. These statistics coupled with the approximate 150 people that visited Wangka Maya and we have a total of 910 visitors to the exhibition in six days.
Next stop Warralong.