Crisis accommodation, transitional housing and outreach service NWS has become the most recent Newman organisation to sign up to the Cultural Compact.
The Cultural Compact invites Newman’s organisations, government and community to sign a statement recognising the land, culture, language and law of the Nyiyaparli Traditional Owners and Martu Custodians of the land on which the town stands, and committing to work toward a shared future.
In 2020 the Nyiyaparli and the Martu came together to create the Cultural Compact, which maps their vision for upholding Aboriginal culture and traditions in Newman. The Compact seeks to catalyse collaboration and unity, nurture understanding and respect for Aboriginal values; and encourage local business, services and institutions to commit to culturally responsive approaches.
NWS Manager Arina Aoina said the Cultural Compact was important because it forged a new understanding and enabled a new way for the community to work together with the Nyiyaparli and Martu people.
“I think for Newman Women’s Shelter that’s been around for such a long time, signing this Compact is about acknowledging the Traditional Owners and the Custodians of this land,” Ms Aoina said. “It acknowledges their skills, their experience, their interpretations, how they go about their lives in the past, in the present and in the future. This is us saying ‘yes’ to their dream and working out how we connect, how we can work together and commit to making this is our dream together. It’s us saying ‘we want to help build your dream’ and ‘your dream will become our dream’.”
Ms Aoina said as part of the Cultural Compact, NWS would embark on ensuring their staff received ongoing cultural awareness training, ensuring the centre had board representation of Martu and Nyiyaparli people, and on reflecting the objectives of the Compact in their practices, policies, procedures, and strategic plan.
“We signed the Cultural Compact because we think it’s really important that we show this commitment,” Ms Aoina said.
“The Compact is about encouraging a better future for Newman and our surrounding communities. It’s about moving forward together. It’s about equal opportunities for Nyiyaparli and Martu people. If other organisations and businesses in Newman are considering signing the Cultural Compact, this is what I would say to them. Do it. It is vital, if you want to be successful in this community, if you to build a strong community, and if you want to acknowledge the people in this community – you need to sign that Compact to show that you are respecting the Traditional Owners and the Custodians of this land. That you are respecting their knowledge, their skills, and their rights.”
Ms Aoina said the Cultural Compact was a blueprint for how the community could move forward together.
“It’s about hope, about a helping hand - giving each other a helping hand up. The Compact is about opportunities for learning and sharing. It’s about people who visit this country being respectful, willing to listen and learn from each other, and acknowledging the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this land,” Ms Aoina said.
NWS has operated for 20 years in Newman providing crisis accommodation, transitional housing, mobile outreach and counselling services.
To sign the Cultural Compact or find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org or head to newmanfutures.com.au.