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Recently, Guma-Warnii, one of our Pilbara Aboriginal Businesses (PAB’s), invited members from Rio Tinto Projects and the Calibre senior leadership team to spend time in the Robe Valley and experience a cultural walk on Country. Guma-Warnii (which translates to ‘coming together’ in the Robe River Kuruma dialect) provide a number of design and construction services, escort, and specialty cultural services to our RVS project.
Prior to the cultural walk, we toured Mesa A and Mesa J with one of the Guma-Warnii directors, Michael Venables, and discussed the important role PAB’s play by acting as a ‘bridge’ between the construction industry and traditional ways of life, before enjoying an evening with the wider Guma-Warnii team.
The cultural walk was led by three generations of inspiring Kuruma women (all Guma-Warnii directors); Elaine James, Tuesday Lockyer and Kimberley Slattery, who narrated stories describing the importance of the two ethnographic sites we visited and the connection of the Kuruma Traditional Custodians to Country, stopping frequently as we made our way along the Robe River to learn about traditional medicines, food and water sources.
We also learnt about some traditional artefacts and the importance of native plants and bush foods to Aboriginal people thanks to Guma-Warnii employee Dean Uren, who is passionate about learning the craft of traditional tool and spear making, with some of his work on display.
Overall, the trip was an amazing experience and a great opportunity to build deeper relationships with Guma-Warnii and gain an increased understanding of the Kuruma Traditional Custodians connection to country.