Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa celebrated its 10th anniversary last month. Such much has been achieved over the past 10 years. Founded in April 2005 the organisation has grown rapidly in response to Martu needs and aspirations over the past 10 years.
The initial focus of the organisation was to develop a Martu archive storehouse of film, photos, audio recordings and documents that dated back to the 1940’s and to record historical events. Relatively quickly this broadened to include capturing and recording Martu genealogies and assisting Martu elders and young people to travel back to their traditional lands.
It was from these projects based on preserving Martu culture that the organisation was given its name, Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa, which means ‘holding/retaining culture’.
The focus of the organisation was expanded again a year later as it became apparent that for Martu communities to survive and flourish it was essential that they develop a viable economic base and work towards financial independence from the Government. In consultation with Martu elders Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa developed a strategy which set about building culturally-based economies in Martu communities. In 2009 through Commonwealth funding the organisation started its first ranger team in Jigalong community and casual threatened species work with Martu women in Jigalong, Parnngurr and Punmu.
These programs quickly gained momentum. In 2014 there were five permanent and two casual ranger teams employing 275 Martu. The Martu archive has also grown to hold over 41,000 media items which Martu can view in 12 locations on the Community Access Libraries. Martu elders and young people continue to travel back to country through the Kalyuku Ninti program. Over 400 Martu have returned to their traditional homelands through the 13 Kalyuku Ninti trips facilitated by Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa.
The reason for the organisation’s success is that the fundamental basis of all programs reflects Martu social, cultural, economic and environmental concerns and aspirations.
“When you look at what’s going on out on-country now – the ranger program and the back to country trips – you couldn’t get it any better than that. Because the mob are not only back on-country, which is very important to us, but they’ve been given a sense of leadership & ownership.” Martu community member
To further develop the sense of leadership and responsibility Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa has commenced a new leadership program. This program aims to train and support Martu to take on more of an active leadership role within the ranger teams. The program also assists young men and women to gain skills and confidence to interact more successfully between Martu and Western society. Still in its infancy, the program is already starting to show results. Nick Preece, CEO of the former Martu Trust states:
"KJ has given participants the confidence to interact with mainstream people and government. I've seen a great hunger in young people to improve relationships with those that they have to engage with."
The last 10 years would not have been possible without the dedicated Martu and non-Martu staff as well as the continued support of the Martu communities, funders and partners. The Board of Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa would like to thank everyone who has been involved in helping in the organisation grow and achieve such positive results.
Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa aims to continue to listen to Martu and assist them in addressing their concerns and priorities for many years to come.
“We need to keep the country alive and to keep our language alive. So it won't get lost. So that I can look after the country and pass it onto my son, and then he can pass it onto his sons” Clifton Girgirba, Parnngurr ranger