by David Newry and K.J. Olawsky
"Developing the Miriwoong Seasonal Calendar has been an important and engaging project for Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring and we are delighted with the outcome in the form of an interactive website which can also be used as an educational tool. Working together with the Bureau of Meteorology and Kimberley Land Council has been very productive."
In the words of Miriwoong elder Button Jones, "This is good for us. We gave them our knowledge and now they are using it. It will help us Miriwoong people keep looking after our country."
Mirima Council vice chair Annette Chunama adds, "We have been learning about the seasons from past generations and are passing them on to our children. Now we can do this with the help of 21st century technology and share our knowledge with the wider community."
Miriwoong traditional owners are confident that the use of long-established knowledge combined with scientific efforts will have a positive impact on the understanding of climate and climate change. Being based on information passed on from generation to generation, traditional knowledge about seasonal patterns can add valuable insights to modern studies. By sharing this calendar through a portal on the Bureau of Meteorology webpage, it will be acknowledged that ancient ways of land management linked to living within the environment can be combined with modern conservation techniques.
"In Miriwoong culture (as in other societies), nature and the various ways of interacting with the environment are defined in terms of the language used to describe these patterns. It is important for Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring to highlight the link between language and environment as in some areas, the language assigned to weather patterns may significantly differ from the structures applied by Western societies.
"We envisage future development of this important project by expanding the knowledge database into areas such as fire management. The seasonal calendar in its current form can be viewed as a starting point for an innovative approach towards understanding weather, climate and environment".
David Newry, Knut J. Olawsky
Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language Centre