National Science Week 2023


Tiahni Adamson is a passionate Conservation Biologist.

Kaurareg Woman Tiahni Adamson is a passionate wildlife conservation biologist who’s using science and First Nations Knowledge to help nurture Country and find solutions to our climate crisis.

As the oldest living culture on the plant, our people were the First Scientists and that knowledge has been around for 60,000 years! How are you using some of that knowledge to support the work you’re doing?

When some people hear the words Climate Change; they think it’s too big of a problem for them to get involved in.

Once the water dries up that’s it -there is nothing else!

story by Jasmyn Sheppard

“First Nations’ connection to Country will be broken if waterholes across Australia continue to be poisoned and polluted.” Dr John Binda Reid.


Dr John Binda Reid’s ground-breaking study looked at First Nations migrations and their connections to waterholes and found the poisoning of remote billabongs is the equivalent of polluting Sydney Harbour.

“I tried to share the story of the waterhole using different storytelling methods, and the idea that the waterhole is a sacred place was one of the ways of trying to get non-Aboriginal people to understand that this place is a spiritual place. Prior to the 1850s, the waterhole was a pristine place where people could go and enjoy the environment, the atmosphere of socializing around the waterhole, of performing ceremonies around the waterhole, of developing knowledge around the waterhole, and of transferring knowledge around the waterhole. It was a place where you could practice spirituality.”

Dr Reid and his cultural mentor Simon Tjapangardi Fisher from Yuendumu meeting in Adelaide to discuss aspects of his PhD study.

The Research Fellow from Charles Darwin University interviewed representatives from 11 communities and six language groups, over six years, to study the ‘drivers’ of Aboriginal male migration in central Australia.

Dr Reid spoke with CAAMA about his research which has found waterholes were critical for the ceremonial, cultural and social life of Aboriginal tribes who lived in remote environments. Dr Reid says Governments need to understand the importance these water sources play not just in Aboriginal culture but also for the future of our country.

Listen here:

Dr Reid now works with the Gawler Ranges Aboriginal Native Title Corporation’s Working on Country Indigenous Ranger group where he translates important findings from his PhD study into cultural training programs so that everyone gets a grounded understanding of the importance of the waterhole to knowledge production.

The Gawler ranges S.A…supplied

story by Jasmyn Sheppard

Embracing Culture and Talent: Desert Harmony Festival 2023

Photo by Anna-Marie Harding

Last weekend, the CAAMA crew embarked on a journey to experience the Desert Harmony Festival 2023 in Tennant Creek, immersing themselves in a celebration of local talent and culture. The festival, held from 28th to 30th July, showcased the diverse heritage and artists of the Barkley region.

At the core of the Desert Harmony Festival was an appreciation for the cultural heritage that defines Tennant Creek and its surroundings. Attendees were treated to traditional dancing performances from local Warumungu elders and elders from Ali Curung that travelled for the festival.

Photo by Anna-Marie Harding

The festival also featured a range or local and inter-state artists and bands. The lineup including great bands such as: Stuart Nugget, Emma Donovan, Ripple Effect Band, New Boys, PJ Reggae Band and Katanga Jnr.

One of the festival’s highlights was the series of interactive workshops that offered participants an opportunity to delve deeper into the cultural heritage of the region. These workshops provided a hands-on experience, allowing attendees to learn traditional skills, art forms, and storytelling techniques. The workshops included Bush Tucker with Jerry Kelly and Jewellery Making with Lorraine Napaltjari Gibson.

Photo by Anna-Marie Harding

Over the weekend we were graced with the presence of the Snuff Puppets that captivated festivalgoers of all ages. These puppets included: a gigantic crow, a cheeky camp dog, and a massive goanna. These larger-than-life puppets became an integral part of the weekend’s festivities, making appearances that left a lasting impression on attendees. Their playful interactions and vibrant presence were an instant hit, creating cherished memories for both the young and the young at heart.

The festival’s success was a tribute to the collaborative efforts of organisers, performers, and attendees who united to celebrate culture and art. It was an occasion that reinforced the notion that the vibrant spirit of Tennant Creek extended well beyond its geographical boundaries.

Photo by Anna-Marie Harding

The Desert Harmony Festival 2023 in Tennant Creek was an undeniable success, encapsulating the essence of culture, talent, and community. CAAMA looks forward to attending many more festivals in future years to come.

Reporter – Anna-Marie Harding

‘I’d like in my time to see a difference and I’m putting out a call for help’; Charlie King AOM 2023 NAIDOC NT Male Elder of the Year

Charlie King AOM receiving the 2023 NT NAIDOC Male Elder of the Year Award.

“I acknowledge my mother, and if she was around, I know she would be very proud of me and others as well”

This year Gurindji Elder Charlie King OAM won the 2023 Northern Territory NAIDOC Awards Male Elder of the Year for his tireless work as an advocate and founder of the No More campaign and initiative working towards reducing and preventing the prevalence of domestic and family violence across the Northern Territory.
The award came as a surprise to Charlie King and he says it felt very special to receive the Male Elder of the Year for the work he has done.
“I acknowledge my mother, and if she was around, I know she would be very proud of me and others as well,’ he says ‘ I know it’s special, I don’t make any bones about that I know it’s a special award and I’ll treasure it forever.”
Charlie King works as a sports commentator for the ABC and on his days off he continues to work in the family and domestic violence space with the NO More AU initiative. He says life wouldn’t be the same if he stopped working. He says by combining sports and raising awareness on domestic and family violence prevention it allows for him to reach out to more people in remote communities.
Charlie shares the important story on how he first started to travel through remote communities to talk about pornography with men and it was because they knew him from his work in sports the men would show up to see him and that was a good way to connect and talk about the issues.
He says since 2016 the program is being tweaked to fit in with what is happening in each community. “I can’t stand organisations that connect to the communities but don’t empower to take responsibility.”
He talks fondly of the Walpiri men and Mr Jakamarra Nelson (deceased) a senior Walpiri man from Yuendumu who he spoke with about the issues of family and domestic violence across Australia. Jakamarra laid down the law and shook his finger and said NO MORE, NO MORE! Charlie says he understood what that meant. Another Senior Walpiri man Mr Ned Hargraves said ‘all men should link up’. These messages initiated the No More Campaign to Family Violence and the beginning of football teams linking arms when they ran onto the ground to make a stand against family and domestic violence.

NO More AU AFL Barkly Competition July 2023

“Pride in the tribe, I think there’s an answer there, there’s so many great tribes, stand up and be proud of who we are”.

The biggest barrier Charlie King faces is that there is only enough funding for the NO More model to be delivered in two remote communities across the Northern Territory and his goal is for all communities to be able to have the same opportunity. He says the Closing the Gap funding does not cover his work in Men’s behavioral change and with the current inquest in the Northern Territory on family and domestic violence he has the chance to speak at the inquest and that will provide the opportunity to mention that if there was at least one person working in every community on the issue of family violence and if they were given 20 communities to work in with training they could see what ideas they come up with.
“We’ve done that work in communities before when we ask what they think should be done.”
“I think this whole model of ‘engage to empower’ I think is really important, I think that’s where the answer lies to fixing this problem,’ Kings says ‘ we’ve seen it in the past when the community has an idea and you back them up to do it, it makes a difference. They know what best works for them.”
Charlie also talks about an issue he said he spoke loudly about at last year’s NAIDOC march about people being proud of their identity.
“We’re not Aboriginal, we are not Indigenous, we are not First Nations we are what our tribe is”.
“Pride in the tribe, I think there’s an answer there, there’s so many great tribes, stand up and be proud of who we are”.

The issues of intergenerational poverty and racism are contributing factors to stress in the communities that can lead to the use of violence in families.
Charlie says people understand the insult of racism and they are yet to discover a way to deal with it and move on, they pack it away and it sits there, and they get frustrated, and they get angry and see red.
Behavioural change looks at those issues and changing the way how they see things and respond including jealously self-esteem and control.

It’s got to be seen for what it is, it’s a lack of respect.”

Charlie says change is coming but it’s coming in slowly and more work needs to be done in the broader community and in schools for young people to learn about healthy relationships.

“I’d like in my time to see a difference and I’m putting out a call for help”.
He says changes in the system and institutionalised gender-based violence needs a big commitment and that includes what has been happening behind closed doors in parliament.
‘It’s got to be seen for what it is, it’s a lack of respect.”
“I’d like in my time to see a difference and I’m putting out a call for help”.
“Where are the ideas?’ he says ‘where are the strong people to come forward and stand up and take this problem and make a real difference.”

Gurindji Elder of The Year 2023 Charlie King AOM

National Aboriginal Art Gallery designs released….

Northern Territory Minister for Arts ,Culture and Heritage Chansey Paech and National Reference Group Co-Chair Franchesca Cubillo have unveiled the designs for the new National Aboriginal Gallery located in Mparntwe (Alice Springs).

Images Jasmyn Sheppard.

The Northern Territory labor Government has invested $69 million and the Australian Government a further $80 million into the project. by BVN Architecture and local architects Susan Dugdale & Associates.

The Northern Territory Government is seeking community feedback on the design of the National Aboriginal Art Gallery, which the government prefers to build at ANZAC OVAL.

In Alice Springs today the Government and the gallery’s National Reference Group released design sketches of the planned gallery with

Territory Minister for Arts Chansey Paech saying he hopes construction of the art gallery starts next year.

Listen to the full interview here :

Welcome to Talkin Story, where CAAMA brings you the week’s biggest stories from the central desert.

On Today’s show:

  • The age of criminal responsibility is about to change from 10 to 12 in Northern Territory
  • A 100 year old statue of an Aboriginal woman hidden in the archives of the Australian Museum is resurfaced
  • And seven years after the Don-Dale revelations, Dylan Voller’s expressing himself with music, and has a deadly new single.

Produced by Harry Hayes and presented by Jasmyn Sheppard.

Is the quality of drinkable water in Remote Communities going un-noticed?

Water is life, Anderson Rian

In April Friends of the Earth released the NT Drinking Water Quality Report documenting the health issues linked to the high levels of sodium and other chemicals and minerals in bore tap water in remote communities.

The report highlights that the 150 million dollars released by the 2023 National Agreement On Closing the Gap for drinkable water in remote communities does not meet Water Services Australia’s projected 2.2 billion dollars that would see all communities serviced.

Find more about the report here:

Issues of unsafe or undrinkable water, electricity costs, housing and sanitisation needs indicate a high level of disadvantage and crisis that impacts the health and well-being of First Nations people living in remote communities and homelands. The question being put forward is, why weren’t these critical issues resolved years ago under previous governments? The challenges faced when water is undrinkable whether it’s safe or not is that in communities if there aren’t safe rainwater tanks available then not everyone can afford to buy filtered water in boxes or plastics which also raises other issues when it comes to waste. The reality is that if you can’t afford to buy water there is no choice then drink it.

Member for Arnhem Northern Territory Aboriginal Affairs Minister Selena Uibo

Northern Territory Aboriginal Affairs Minister Selena Uibo joins Kirstyn Lindsay to respond to the report on drinking water quality and talks about the recently released Territory Water Plan handed down by the Office of Water Security. A project that she says will address the complex challenges of water security and community health in the Northern Territory.
The Minister says the long-term legacy issues of disadvantage is something that the NT government is very conscious of especially with water security and this is a priority for the current Northern Territory and Federal Government. She says it is very difficult when there is only a small bucket of money to play with and The NT Government relies heavily on Federal funding for essential services and infrastructure.

Aboriginal Hostels Limited Celebrates 50 years of Hospitality

In the 1970’s an increasing number of Aboriginal Australians and their families moved to cities and towns for employment, study, health and a whole range of reasons. Due to this, they needed a place where they could stay and where they felt comfortable and supported.

Topsy Smith Hostel in its current form was rebuilt in 2007 and is located on the Eastside. it is a +40 bed hostel which provides accommodation for Renal and Medical residents. AHL operates 7 days a week, 24 hours. Ever since then, right around the country, AHL has provided a safe and culturally appropriate home away from home for Indigenous Australians.

We would like to acknowledge and thank the organisations and staff who work with us daily – the hospitals, health services and the support services that assist our residents in making their stay possible.

Listen to Natasha Thornton’s interview audio with Jenni Hubert.

Topsy Smith Hostel celebrating its 50th Anniversary.

Topsy Smith video archival.

Jenni Hubert reporter

Passing The Message Stick; changing the media landscape


First Nations Journalists and the open media community will be able to learn more about Passing the Message Stick and the next phase of developing persuasive messages on key issues relevant to truth-telling, treaty and representation in the lead-up to the upcoming referendum.

Passing the Message Stick is a framework developed to change the story in messaging for media platforms and human rights campaigns using language that takes away deficit concepts that disengage audiences and places the power back to what First Nations people want.

Widjabul Wia-bal Chief executive of GetUp Larrisa Baldwin-Roberts says her research on strength-based messaging is based on how the use of data and persuasion works in social media and other platforms. She says these practices haven’t got us anywhere and this new platform and formula focuses on how to deliver strong messages that say what you stand for. Larissa shares more about Passing the Message Stick with Kirstyn Lindsay for CAAMA Radio.

Go to the Passing the Message Stick Events page to register for training and updated briefings and join the movement of media makers working towards strengthening messaging on self-determination and justice.

Dr Jackie Huggins AM FAHA delivering the opening plenary of Passing The Message Stick at Common Threads Summit Meanjin, March 2023.

Talkin Story 13th July 2023


Listen Below:

Welcome to Talkin Story, where CAAMA brings you the week’s biggest stories in the central desert.

On Today’s show:

· Film-making legend Rachel Perkins talks about her Naidoc award, the voice, and commemorates Dr MK Turner

· The Royal Commission on Robodebt has finished, but people are still getting confusing debt notices from Centrelink

· And Lidia Thorpe on sovereignty, treaty, and the voice

& more

Produced by Harry Hayes and Presented by Levi Thomas.