Carving It Forward

Martu have been carving it forward, with help from the Dream it Forward grant! The grant has contributed to the development of a new beginning for Martu elders to recommence carving — a practice that had been steadily eroded over the past 10 years, largely due to a lack of accessibility to carving tools.  

Between 30-40 people (made up of Martu elders, senior men and 20 young people) have been involved so far. Grant Judson and his son Lionel (pictured first below) were part of the project. Ten years ago, Grant was a prolific carver and would spend hours making boomerangs, spears and digging sticks. Since that time, however, Grant moved into town and lost connection with this pastime.

After receiving a “Dream it Forward” grant, Grant was able to obtain the tools to begin carving again, and his son Lionel (after receiving cultural permission to be able to carve) was able to join him. The reinvigoration of cultural authority structures is one of the many benefits of this program.

The second image (below) is of two Martu elders, Muuki and Waka, who are involved in the project. The final two were taken at one gathering where the availability of boomerangs and spears helped enable a traditional Martu dance to take place on country.

This involved young people, elders and senior Martu men and women. For some folks who have been working in the Western Desert for some time, this was the first time they had ever seen this dance performed. The Martu were really happy to capture the dance for future generations: keeping culture strong and country healthy is a main driver of all of our programs!