Kununurra Camp Story

Senior traditional owners, Lawmen and Song men and youth gathered at the Ord River to participate in cultural and health activities over the 5 days.

Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service attended and did health checks for our men and the Tackling Indigenous Smoking crew came out and did a workshop with some of the men who smoke.

Camping on Country is a national remote Aboriginal men’s health and culture program headed by our Chairman Ernie Dingo.

31 men and 13 youth attended over the five days and much time was spent making traditional boomerangs, coolamon, spears, stone knives, social emotional wellbeing yarns, hunting and traditional earth cooking, fishing, dancing, singing and healthy eating and health checks under the shady tree.

Culture is at the centre of Camping on Country but the men also received health checks and flu shots at the camp with the medical team attending on one of the days. The men felt culturally safe and were relaxed about getting their health checks.

Sam Birch a young local man who participated in the camp said it was special to see his elders so engaged and happy on country. “Coming out here and camping with my countrymen and going hunting and doing culture stuff is a great idea. I can see these camps happening more, the men and young fellas are really loving it.”

Social and emotional wellbeing yarns happened around the fire each morning and were facilitated by Camping on Country Ambassador Ernie Dingo and Lomas Amini. “When we put the Law bosses up the top and recognise them as the experts in their own community positive change happens. These men are the only ones who can close the gap on their own health. These elders here have the solutions and we are here to help give the men a voice so they can be heard.”

One of the important outcomes from the camp was the identified need for more Camping on Country in Kununurra especially for the younger men. Senior men identified this as a priority. We are now looking at ways of putting a Camping on Country Hub in Kununurra with local men managing the camps.

Congratulations to Des and Graham at KWAC and Lawford at MG Corp who helped us pull all this together.

Camping on Country is managed by BushTV Enterprises and is funded through the Commonwealth Department of Health.

We acknowledge the support of the Hon Ken Wyatt AM Minister for Indigenous Australians.

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