Culture tour inspires students

By Charlotte Wooldridge | posted on March 12, 2020

ALBANY Senior High School students gained tips on how to live off the land this week at their annual cultural tour of the Albany Fish Traps.

The program has been running for the past four years, and involves taking the kids out of the classroom and into nature to experience the culture of Menang people.

ASHS teacher Roger Arnold said the school recognises the importance of exposing children to the cultural experiences of first nations people.

“There is a need to acknowledge, value and respect our local Menang culture,” he said.

The children were spoken to by local Elders such as Vernice Gillies, who wasn’t given the opportunity to learn about her own culture when she was in school.

“I learned about Captain Cook when I was at school, but I wasn’t aware at a young age just how incredibly rich my own culture was, because you weren’t supposed to talk about it,” she said.

“People don’t know the history of our Indigenous people of this country, so what we’re doing is important and we’re hoping to keep it going and eventually pass it onto our young ones, so they can do it too.”

The Albany Fish Traps are a culturally significant area for the Menang people, which date back more than 7000 years.

Despite damage to the area due to a lack of knowledge about its history, a project funded by Royalties for Regions and Lotterywest has helped highlight and educate the public about its importance to local people.

Ms Gillies hopes that future groups will continue to learn from their local Indigenous cultures, and go forward with a greater cross-cultural appreciation.