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The Yiriman Project
The Yiriman Project was developed by the Elders of 4 Kimberly language groups; Nyikina, Mangala, Karajarri and Walmajarri. The Elders were concerned about their young people and issues of self-harm and substance abuse. They saw the need for a place where young people could separate themselves from negative influences, and reconnect with their culture in a remote and culturally significant place.
Yiriman cultural bosses are Elders who maintain seniority within their community. They take young people ‘back to Country’ to help them reconnect with culture and separate from negative social influences. The cultural bosses identify where on Country these trips are, who attends and what the young people do. They guide the activities, such as traditional fire management practices or other practical activities about taking care of Country and reconnecting with culture.
It’s unlike a board of directors that needs the approval of members. Decisions are based on community and cultural knowledge and discussions between Elders and cultural bosses. This keeps the focus on helping the young people, without worrying about the logistics of the project.