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The Danjoo Koorliny Festival Story

5 Jul 2020

Dr Noel Nannup OAM has been involved in the Social Impact Festival since 2016 through keynote presentations and the hosting of various sessions. At the end of the 2018 Social Impact Summit we collectively wrote a letter from the people of 2028 back to those in 2018 thanking them for what they had done to create a future we want to live in. Noel mentioned that if we got this right in 2028 we would be well on track for 2029 – the year that will mark 200 years of colonisation in Western Australia. We knew that how we walk together towards 2029 would be important, and so Noel was invited by festival co-director Katie Stubley to design and lead one whole day of the 2019 festival dedicated to this topic, which would be called the Social Impact Summit; Noel replied that he would be willing to do so, but in partnership with Dr Richard Walley OAM, Professor Emeritus Colleen Hayward AM and Carol Innes. When Katie and John (CSI UWA) met with these four leaders they stated their desire to design and lead not just one day, but the whole festival, with the summit now taking place over two full days; during this meeting it was made clear that if we are talking social impact in this place, Aboriginal people have had a blueprint for environmental, cultural and social harmony for over 60,000 years – Noongar country is a hub of environmental, cultural and social harmony – and this is something that can help not just Aboriginal people, but everyone (Richard Walley). Noel later met with CSI Director Professor Paul Flatau, and the resulting Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together Aboriginal-designed and -led process was agreed upon.

Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together is a large-scale, long-term, systems-change project designed and led by Aboriginal leaders to help us all walk together towards 2029 (200 years of colonisation in Perth), and beyond. The Danjoo Koorliny Social Impact Festival is an annual event that brings us together to see what has shifted in the last year and ensure it sets our focus for the year(s) ahead.

The leaders above are currently working together with various Elder groups in Noongar country and throughout Western Australia. There are 10+ others who stepped up during last year’s summit to support with the Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together Project – they include Farley Garlett, Josey Hansen, Jason Barrow, Narelle Thorne, Sharon Wood-Kenney, Daniel Morrison, Shaye Hayden, Ezra Jacobs-Smith, Elisha Jacobs-Smith, Louise O’Reilly, Nicole Crnko and others. There are also project leads including Oral McGuire, Barry McGuire, Gordon Cole, Glenda Kickett and Robyn Smith-Walley. They are supported not only by the CSI UWA team but many other individuals and organisations who align towards a vision for 2029 and beyond.

“We have our vision set for the next 10 years, and that is to care for everything” (Dr Noel Nannup OAM).