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Ngarrindjeri knowledge project to inform future Coorong management

A project to gather Ngarrindjeri cultural knowledge of South Australia’s Kurangk (Coorong) has wrapped up, with the information collected to inform the future management of the iconic wetland.

Ngarrindjeri knowledge project to inform future Coorong management

The Ngarrindjeri Research Project, a Ngarrindjeri-led initiative of the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin (HCHB) program, has enabled inter-generational learning for Ngarrindjeri people through sharing knowledge of the Coorong and the local ecology.

Tim Hartman, Chief Executive Officer from ‎Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal Corporation (NAC), said that as Ngarrindjeri, there is a cultural obligation to care for and manage Country.

“Having a Ngarrindjeri led, managed and owned research project allowed Ngarrindjeri to actively take a leadership role to speak on behalf of Yarluwar Ruwe (Lands and Waters) and the ongoing management of the Coorong,” Tim said.

“It will strengthen the broader community’s understanding on the significance of Ngarrindjeri cultural values and how a healthy system is a requirement of the wellbeing of the Ngarrindjeri people.”

“Our community needs more projects like this, where our people are engaged to talk about our Ruwe and have our voices heard,” Ngarrindjeri community member Owen Love Jnr said.

“I would love to see more projects like this done in the future, focusing on other Ngartji’s and sharing our stories about Ruwe.”

Senior Aboriginal Partnerships Officer with the Department for Environment and Water, Thomas Overall said the project presented an exciting opportunity to improve ecological outcomes through the respectful application of Ngarrindjeri knowledge.

“This was about supporting critical partnerships with Ngarrindjeri to protect and promote Ngarrindjeri culture, heritage, and responsibilities for Country,” Thomas said.

“Ultimately, this will ensure that Ngarrindjeri knowledge is considered, and cultural values are protected, contributing to the wellbeing of the Ngarrindjeri people.”

The project helped deliver the following outcomes:

  • Ngarrindjeri community members were able to have a safe and culturally appropriate space that facilitated the transmission of cultural knowledge across generations to occur.
  • NAC was able to coordinate bringing Ngarrindjeri community and family groups together to talk and connect with each other which allowed them to discuss their shared Ngarrindjeri histories.
  • The research project provided the community a mechanism to have an opportunity to voice what they want to see happen in the future regarding Ngarrindjeri Ruwe.
  • Ngarrindjeri community members were able to have a voice in how the Kurangk could be healed and managed going into the future.
  • This project provided a further opportunity for NAC to engage with members and common law holders to capture cultural values and principles relating to caring for Yarluwar-Ruwe.
  • NAC were able to update community and share the proposed HCHB management actions and provide community members with another space to discuss those actions.

For more information visit: www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/coorong.

This project is part of the South Australian Government’s Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Program, which is jointly funded by the Australian and South Australian governments.