The Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation strives to empower the healing of our people’s lives and communities through cultural initiatives that strengthen the spiritual identity and creates a sense of belonging
Cultural initiatives and Art Projects
Many of the aims and objectives of Dumbartung reinforce the importance of nurturing Aboriginal culture and art. Traditional or contemporary, art is important in healing the individual and the community. Art reaffirms identity, pride, spirituality and unity. Dumbartung promotes community art and artists in a non-commercial manner that is consistent with our core objectives and is relevant to the wellbeing of Nyoongah people and the spiritual growth of the community.
The following initiatives are a history of the work of Dumbartung:
The Prisoners Art Project
This initiative was first established in December 1991 by Dumbartung as a result of the acknowledgment of the therapeutic benefits of Aboriginal art in healing and making a positive impact in the lives of Indigenous prisoners in incarceration. In addition it was also found that art done in prison by incarcerated Aboriginal people was prone to a high degree of exploitation. The project was created to enforce some control over the Aboriginal artists’ artistic endeavours, especially in the arena of promotion and marketing.
The prisoner’s art program allowed the Aboriginal prisoners wellbeing to be given priority by offering a therapeutic benefit which allowed the prisoners to explore their creativity and express their feelings of isolation, stress and frustrations that are part of the incarceration experience in a healthy manner.
Dumbartung is active in repatriating artworks and items of cultural significance from religious, government and academic institutions across the world. It is well documented that this material has been removed by unethical means from the traditional owners and institutionally allocated across the globe. This material needs to be repatriated to enable the spiritual healing of Aboriginal people and the restoration of cultural pride and identity.
Intellectual Property Rights and Cultural Ownership Issues
Wall of Shame
Initiated in 1994 by Dumbartung, the wall of shame commenced primarily due to the Marlo Morgan book “Mutant Message Down Under” to allow people to recognise the extent of Aboriginal cultural appropriation and exploitation. Since then the scope of the wall has broadened to encompass many other aspects involving exploitation of Aboriginal culture.
Dumbartung has been active in coordinating many protests and rallies. These public protests have generated media and political responses to issues important to Aboriginal people as well as the wider society. This activism has resulted in focus on the human rights of Indigenous peoples and traditional ownership issues.
Yokai was a protest march held in 1996 that was coordinated by Dumbartung which translates in English to “shout of victory”. Protesters were rallying against high-speed police car chases, racist comments on the radio and the number of homeless Aboriginal people. The protest crowd marched through the Perth CBD, stopping at various significant organisations such as state government agencies, local radio stations and Non-Aboriginal owned art galleries that exploited Indigenous artists.
Yenna Wumbudin in Nyoongah language means “Walk Proud”. The rally was held in 2004.
A key message that came out of the rally was for young Aboriginal people to understand and be proud of their identity, and take from the ancestors and old people, an understanding of their pain and suffering thus allowing them strength to overcome and endure against life’s challenges.
Two flames were lit in remembrance of Aboriginal people who have died in custody and for the strength and solidarity of all Nyoongah people.
Kootamiara Quab Women’s Healing Program
The Kootamiara Quab healing program is a unique and important initiative utilising our cultural arts and spiritual identity to help in the healing process from trauma associated with child sexual abuse and domestic violence issues.
The program also co-ordinates water colour and paperbark courses these courses are also available to the public to attend.
The program also helps support individuals facing deep grief from the loss of loved ones.