Kimberley Specialists has a strong committment to sponsoring various Aboriginal projects and towards facilitating job training for Aboriginal youth. In 2003, KS sponsored 15 Barramundi Aboriginal School teenagers at risk to Kachana Pastoral Station for a week. The breakup of students was 10 boys and 5 girls. The project entailed flying these student out to Kachana, and then walking them 3 km to the Cleanskin Camp facilities. Each student was given their own swag and had to 'dig' in and help with general camp duties. Activities during the week included building rock 'filter' dams along the Lee Creek system, also the water supply for the camp, lessons in bush food and medicinal plant identification and spending time learning how to work with the cattle. Chris Henggeler, owner of Kachana Pastoral Station gave the students an insight into how the cattle can be used as a resource management tool. Steve McIntosh, KS guide and teacher during the week the students were on Kachana, taught the boys how to catch and identify fresh water fish species.
Kimberley Specialists has also facilitated and sponsored Ju Ju Wilson bush foods and medicinal plant investigation on Kachana. Ju Ju has worked with KS since its inception. She is a well known Aboriginal researcher and leader for the Mirriuwong Language Group in Kununurra. The report on her research can be found in the Kachana research section of the web site. Ju Ju has also spent 12 years working with archaeologist Lee Scott-Virtue on monitoring the impact of fire on Aboriginal rock art sites. Their report is also in the Kachana research section.
Other Aboriginal people that have been sponsored to spend time on Kachana are Robert Brown, a well known and respected Aboriginal tour guide for the Bungle Bungles. KS was responsible for placing Robert with East Kimberley Tours to begin training as a cultural guide in the Bungle Bungles in 1999. Robert spent his time on Kachana learning about Kachana Pastoral Stations use of animals as a resource management tool and helping KS to establish electric fencing around some of the established 'Islands of Biodiversity'. KS also sponsored Annie Wilson, sister to Ju Ju, and her children to Kachana for a three week caretaking stay at the Cleanskin camp facilities. Annie and her teenage children spent a lot of time with the Henggeler family learning about how KPC used their cattle as resource management tool, with Annie reciprocating by teaching the Henggeler children how to fish Aboriginal style and about many of the bush foods and medicinal plants found on Kachana.
Letter from the Barramundi Aboriginal School:
17 Jan. 03
Dear Kimberley Specialists,
We would like to confirm that Barramundi School is very interested in the proposed involvement of students in the Kachana Sustainable Management Project.
This process will be inline with Barramundi School ’s aim of developing students understanding of small business enterprises, tourism opportunities and environmental management.
Barramundi School is an off-campus project operated by the Kununurra District High School , who aims to assist students in developing real life skills which empower them to fulfil their personal potential and make a positive contribution to their local community.
In 2002, twenty four students attended Barramundi School . These students are indigenous teenagers from thirteen to sixteen years old and are predominately from the Mirima Community. It would be our recommendation that five or six students are selected who show interest and enthusiasm toward this project, and lead up to potentially involving the whole school in the future.
We work closely with the Mirima Community to incorporate both Western and Traditional cultural learning styles. The community has made recommendations that they would like to see students working outside the classroom environment and therefore we would gain community support and enthusiasm for this project.
We believe this project has the potential to be a life changing experience for students who will have the opportunity to not only gain important knowledge and skills but also improve student’s physical health and self-esteem.
We are looking forward to future communication.