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Cultural Programs Strategy

This report presents the results of research and liaison work related to reviewing our existing cultural awareness programs. Its from this work that we got this website going and have developed it further!

The work was carried out by Sustainable Futures Australia (SFA), supported by the Arakwal Cultural Awareness Project Working Group (ACAPWG),which was established as part of the project. This group included representatives of the Arakwal community and Arakwal Aboriginal Corporation (AAC); Cape Byron Marine Park Authority (CBMPA); Cape Byron Conservation Reserve/National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS); and Sustainable Futures Australia. It continues to be a really positive relationship working together.

The report provides recommendations and next steps for us to develop an improved and integrated Arakwal Cultural Awareness Program (CAP) for our own people and the wider community,  including:

• the Cultural Awareness Working Group to keep supporting ongoing development, implementation, support for, and review of the CAP.

• updating and improving existing cultural awareness programs, including suggested changes and inclusions made in the report.

• developing new activities and events that help connect people to Country and increase awareness about Arakwal culture.

• integrating activities and programs into an annual events calendar with seasonal-themed events that encompass cultural activities and help get people back onto Country and into their culture.

• establishing a strong website presence to assist in connecting people and providing a platform for cultural information, learning and awareness

• preparing a strategic plan including prioritised strategies and actions.

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Cultural Programs eg. dolphin dreaming

We have a range of cultural learning and awareness programs for our own people and the wider community. They help us maintain our culture and connection to Country, and encourage others to understand the importance of this. They also provide opportunities for our people to work on and share their knowledge about Country. We want people to respect our culture and respect Country. 

A good example of the programs we organise and run is Dolphin Dreaming. An experiential program, it helps people become more aware about respecting, valuing and appreciating Arakwal Country and our culture.  It’s led by an experienced Arakwal guide giving the opportunity for participants to learn about Aboriginal culture, language, music, local families & history in Arakwal Country. We are looking forward to doing more with our programs in the future.

Click here to learn more about Dolphin Dreaming and our other Cultural Programs and Activities.

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Arakwal Cultural Website

Our website is a place for us to share our culture and passion for Country with you. It’s for our Mob, wherever you are, for learning, to stay in touch and keep connected, sharing our challenges and belonging. It’s for our friends and colleagues to keep in touch, supporting and helping us in what we are doing. It’s for everyone who is interested in what we are doing here, our stories, our creativity, and our love of Country.

We are working on making the site slowly, getting our Mob logged-in and using it to help keep connected. We are working out what information to put up for everyone, like stories we can share, and what needs to stay between us. Its a good place to store information on things we’ve been doing, like the native title negotiations and agreements we’ve made about looking after Country; as well as photos and interesting videos.

We’ve got plans for the website in the near future, and maybe more in years to come …. online media and social networking is something we all are going to have to get used to! It can help us but it won’t replace our real connection to Country and the knowledge and values we hand down through stories and advice from our elders to younger generaltions. This has been going on a long time, and we are going to make sure it keeps on going.

Our Arakwal Aboriginal Corporation Board endorsed the website at its board meeting on the 29th June 2012 ready for its official public launch as part of NAIDOC Week celebrations in early July 2012. The website was presented to friends and invited guests on the afternoon of the 4th July at the Byron Bay Community Centre main theatre.

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Cultural Induction Program

Our general cultural induction course has been developed to guide people to listen, look and learn, exploring our Arakwal cultural website to gain better understanding about us and our country.

Using a ‘Moodle’ based software program linked to our website, participants log-in and listen to audio, watch video and read from the website. Then you can answer questions to check whether you have understood our messages and protocols about being on Country; know a bit about who we are; what we are doing to care for country; and the sort of challenges we face today.

Our program has 5 sections:

(1) welcome to country  (2) our culture-our stories (3) binungal: stop look and listen                                       (4) looking after country (5) key issues we face today

We hope it is fun, that people learn some things, and pass the ‘test’ to become a more informed friend!                                      

Click here to login to the Cultural Induction Program

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Learning room at Byron Bay library

The new Byron Bay library scheduled to open by the end of 2012 will contain a designated room for indigenous research and archival material, as well as a room for Arakwal cultural activities. We are excited about the possibilities this can bring in sharing our culture with the wider community, as well as having a place to store some information, and to meet and do things as a community for our own learning.

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Community support programs

In traditional times our people have always gathered to celebrate or to arrange community business. Whilst these times have changed, gathering as a mob still plays a vital role in our family and community. Community support programs play important roles in building and supporting our community, and linking us with the wider community.

We hold Specific Arakwal Days called Back to Country Days.

Many of our friends work with Arakwal in organising programs and events that bring together our mob and the wider community. These events prove to be beneficial in creating harmony as well as educating the broader community on the Arakwal perspective on history or issues.


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Dolphin (Wajung)
Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) is an important totem for our people. Wajoong gives us messages about relationships between our clan members, to our ancestors and the past, and also to particular places and sites in our Country. We have stories of our people and dolphins communicating and connecting with each other, including co-operative fishing, sharing resources from the ocean, and playing in the shallows.
Sea Eagle (Miwing)
White Breasted Sea Eagle (Haliaetus leucogaster) is an important totem for us. Miwing gives us messages about clan and family groups, provides knowledge on hunting practices and environmental events on Country. The second largest raptor (bird of prey), you can see the majestic Miwing soaring above you as you walk along Tallow Beach or around the Cape.
Carpet Snake (Kabul)
Carpet Snake (Morelia spilota) as one of our key totems symbolises the relationship of clan members to each other, to our ancestors and the past, and to particular places or sites. Kabul are important to us for their conservation, wild resource and other cultural values.
Brush Turkey (Wollum)
Brush Turkey (Alectura lathami) is a messenger providing clues about and demonstrating knowledge and adaptability in knowing and using Country. Wollum lives and moves freely in the coastal bush, foraging through leaf litter for food to eat. The male builds large mounds out of vegetative material and uses it to incubate their eggs.
Pied Oystercatcher (language name?)
Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus longirostris) is an important bird to us because they provide messages about food sources and environmental events in Country. The Pied forages on the beaches and rocky shores, in mudflats of inlets, bays, ocean beaches, and on offshore islets.
Green Turtle (Bijahlin)
Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) is an important messenger that provides knowledge of the sea Country. Biwing nests on north coast beaches including Tallow Beach and Lennox Heads to the south. Julian Rocks (Nguthungulli) supports significant populations of the Biwing and if you go snorkeling or diving there, you can have a close encounter with these graceful creatures.