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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin

Noongar songline gets new life with help of the next generation

Date posted: 18 October 2013

As a West Australian Noongar Elder and Prime Ministerial appointee to the Australian National Council on Drugs and National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee, Professor Ted Wilkes has devoted his life to battling the damage alcohol and drugs have wrought across Indigenous communities.

But the 57-year-old's most recent project - a CD dedicated to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren - is a celebration of his Indigenous heritage and more than 40 years of family sing-alongs.

His project is a triumph of the positive over the negative. Professor Wilkes said the CD was about continuing the songline of the Noongar people, whose territory extends from Geraldton to Esperance and across to Southern Cross in Western Australia's southwest. 'This is the way Aboriginal people record our stories and histories and how we pass on particular messages to our kids,' he said.

Although he says there is a 'long way to go' in tackling the scourge of drugs and alcohol in Indigenous communities, he is 'forever an optimist', and is hopeful about the potential for the Abbott government to contribute to solving the problem.

'Aboriginal people need to control our own pathways out of poverty, but we can't do that without support. We need good partnerships with non-Aboriginal Australians,' said Professor Wilkes.

Source: The Australian


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Last updated: 17 October 2013
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