A project led by the Aboriginal people of Beagle Bay, Djarindjin, Lombadina and Ardyaloon communities called WAAPI is taking shape. It aims to empower Aboriginal families and improve outcomes for their children, young people and families living across the Dampier Peninsula region. WAAPI’s focus is on creating strong families, strong leaders and strong communities with an Indigenous governance family empowerment model. This provides a model for a ‘voice’ to facilitate local decision-making and ensure Aboriginal-led, designed and delivered positive social change. Dampier Peninsula families see WAAPI offering a new movement for Aboriginal people to lead the way forward in their relationships with community elders, families, children and young people.
Furthermore, this enables their leadership in relationships with government, businesses, organisations and other Aboriginal communities. Hence, this Aboriginal-led, place-based approach is signifying an important step forward for strengthening and building collaborative and empowered Kimberley Aboriginal families and communities. It also enhances their ability to work with government to stimulate policy and systematic change.
- Driving this grassroots change are the “Community Navigators”, who are locally employed grassroots people connected to what is identi% ed as the Nyulnyulan family language group. The family language groups include both mainland and island traditional kinship connections with Nyulnyul, Bardi, Djabirr-djabirr and Nimanburru (mainland groups). The island language groups; Jawi and Oowiini have adopted the Bardi language on the mainland and are integrated as such being part of the traditional kinship system on the Dampier Peninsula. Bardi and Nyulnyul still maintain the practices of the language today, these are the languages used within the context of WAAPI.
- This unique role has been largely self-determined by the Community Navigators from their discussions with community, the Navigators have been informing and guiding social planning, ensuring community priorities are the focus, brokering government agency and service provider relationships and advising stakeholders on appropriate community channels for engagement.
- For the first time, this partnership brings together a collaboration of State, Federal, not-for-profit, and Aboriginal organisations to work collectively around a common understanding and shared commitment for improving the way services are delivered for the benefit of achieving outcomes for Dampier Peninsula individuals and families, driven by families.
- The Community Navigators have developed household surveys and been carrying out their own research and consultation within their communities. By listening and talking to their children, young people, families and elders the Navigators are discovering the kind of changes people wish to see, as well as their local priorities, needs and aspirations. Their work has involved all age groups in discussions to collect powerful grassroots data that reflects the lived experience of their people and provides an opportunity for all people to exercise a voice, and have their opinions heard.
- WAAPI’s focus on leadership is important to the region’s development, for ensuring strong cultural governance to strengthen community capacity to work together with government, corporations and organisations to achieve what Dampier Peninsula families have been calling for - a brighter future for their children and young people.
Reader please take note, Dampier Peninsula community leaders in WAAPI hold ownership of the approach that WAAPI has developed, including the Community Navigator role, the Indigenous governance model, Family cultural framework and WAAPI brand. If any group would like to make use of this approach in any way, we encourage you to speak directly to the WAAPI Aboriginal leadership group members for permission.
WARNING: This document may contain images and names of people who have passed away.