• Length:
    6 Weeks
  • Effort:
    2–3 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
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  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Introductory
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

Prerequisites

None

About this course

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned photographs/videos in this course may contain images of deceased persons which may cause sadness or distress.

Noongar people are the original inhabitants of the vast geographical area in the south-western corner of Western Australia. They have been there for over 45,000 years. Through the millennia, ancient wisdom and culture have guided the people through their interactions with the land, nature, and with one another.

In 1826, the Noongar land was first colonised by the British. What unfolded in the years that followed was catastrophic for Noongar people; the impacts of which are still seen and felt today.

Despite this dark history, Noongar culture has survived. Today, Noongar people are passionate about preserving their cultural knowledge while embracing the changes that come with living in a contemporary society.  

This course provides an introduction to Noongar culture and language. Learners will be taken on a journey through Noongar boodja (Noongar country). They'll join Noongar guides as they share knowledge and personal experiences of history, land, and culture.

Learners will be introduced to conversational Noongar - learning words and phrases that can be used in simple dialogue.

We hope this course enhances cultural understanding and respect for the Noongar people - and Aboriginal Australians, as a whole - more broadly.

Wandjoo noonakoort, which means: welcome everyone!

What you'll learn

  • A range of conversational Noongar words and phrases
  • How to incorporate and use Noongar words within basic conversational sentences
  • Appreciation and respect for Noongar spiritual and cultural beliefs
  • The importance of boodja (country) to Noongar people and protocols for respecting boodja
  • Key events in recent Noongar history and ways to recognise the impacts of colonisation on Noongar culture, waangkaniny (language), society, and people
  • How contemporary expressions of Noongar culture through art, music and dance can help Noongar people strengthen their cultural identity
  • Examples of the vast cultural knowledge on boodja through bush medicines and bush foods
Module 1 – An introduction to speaking Noongar

In this first module, you will learn the basic principles of Noongar language. You will learn how to pronounce common Noongar sounds (vowels and consonants) and examine overall sentence structure and regional differences.

Module 2 – Wandjoo Noongar boodja (Welcome to Noongar country)

In this second module, you will examine Noongar people, their boodja (country) and important cultural protocols concerning boodja. You will be guided through the six Noongar seasons and learn about various aspects of Noongar spirituality including creation beliefs and totems.

Module 3 – Koori yeyi (Past to today)  

In this third module, you will examine Noongar society pre-colonisation and learn about the key events (and rising tensions) that occurred following the arrival of the British settlers in 1826. Catastrophic segregation policies, land dispossession, and the attempted assimilation and genocide of Noongar culture and people will also be discussed. This module concludes by recognising the importance of reviving and celebrating culture today. 

Module 4 – Ngalang moort koort (Family is our heart)

In this fourth module, you will learn about the heart of Noongar people’s lives - that of moort (family) and community. The kinship system, and the terms that identify who is who in the extended network that makes up Noongar families will be explored. This module will also illustrate ways in which family and communities ensure that culture and language are taught to younger generations.

Module 5 –  Warangka, wongka, nyumbi (Song, story and dance)

Dance, music and art have always played a central role in Noongar culture. In this module, you will look at examples of how dance, music, and art have helped to strengthen cultural identity and build relationships not only for Noongar people – but also the wadjela (whitefellas) community.

Module 6 - Ngalang boodja moorditj (Our great country)

In this final module, you will return to boodja (country), to explore knowledge embedded in the land through bush medicines, bush foods, names of places, and in Noongar words themselves. This module aims to give you a glimpse into reading the land the ‘Noongar way’.

Meet your instructors

Marion Kickett
Professor
Curtin University
Simon Forrest
Professor
Curtin University

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