Martu created Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa. Martu said what work it should do. Martu were walking around with not much work in the communities. Some went to work with Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa. They got work, they got good money, they got knowledge, they got strong. The feeling inside, their spirit is happy, strong.
In the words of an independent assessment of KJ’s social return on investment (SROI), “KJ’s on-country programs have generated transformative change across the Martu communities”. The outcomes span a wide range of social, cultural and economic benefits to both Martu and other stakeholders such as the state and federal governments.
All programs are based on Martu culture and priorities and aspirations to go back to country, to teach young people about their culture and to look after country, which explains the high levels of engagement in every program.
The culture and language program is central to KJ’s work. It informs virtually all other programs, and also has responsibility for preserving data, information and products generated by those other areas as well as contracted cultural awareness training sessions for external organisations.
These programs manage the conservation of the natural and cultural assets on Martu country through the employment of nearly 300 Martu as Indigenous rangers working out of four communities. They are extending the geographic scope and range of activities using both Martu traditional knowledge and contemporary natural resource management such as fire, feral animal, threatened species, and weed management.
Martu have seen their world turn upside down. In the space of two generations the Martu people have gone from living a traditional way of life in the desert to living in modern Australia while trying to hold on to their culture. To create a positive future in modern Australia, Martu need to understand and experience how mainstream Australia works, how it affects their communities and lives, and how to engage and partner with mainstream institutions to shape a new future for Martu.