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Building awareness of local culture in the Flinders Ranges

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21 June 2019

Members of the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) Taskforce participated in 2 days of cultural awareness training at Spear Creek in the Flinders Ranges.

The training was organised to enable the taskforce to gain a better understanding of how local communities connect with the lands of the Flinders Ranges. This immersion was also an opportunity to discuss issues facing Indigenous communities that surround the nominated sites.

This was not the first opportunity for cultural exchange - the taskforce previously experienced similar training.

Rather, it was an opportunity to update the skills of those who have been in the taskforce for a while. The sessions also provided valuable exposure for newer members who had not experienced Adnyamathanha culture and heritage.

Nicholas Clifford-Hordacre was the departmental lead for activities down in the Port Augusta region.

He worked with Dawn Likouresis to develop a program that covered Indigenous history while highlighting challenges faced by the Adnyamathanha community in a modern context.

“Learning about the moiety kinship systems was a real eye-opener for our latest recruits,” says Nicholas.

“It’s very different to European or Asian societal structures.”

From the taskforce point of view, the exchange provided time and opportunity to talk about the potential benefits flowing from the facility. This includes opportunities for training and employment to lead to broad and long-term development.

Cultural exchange can take many forms. Sitting around the fire and enjoying a meal meant that everyone could connect in more relaxed surrounds.

“The kangaroo tail curry was a definitely a hit!” says Nicholas.

“There’s no doubt that these quieter moments are as valuable as anything else we do. To sit and listen and talk among the group meant that more formal engagement fell away. We simply learned from each other through the timeless activity of sharing a meal.”

More of the Canberra team will have the chance to experience these sessions in coming months.

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