Jason and Joseph Dixon are based in Bourke, NSW. The twin brothers descend from the Ngemba and Wangkumarra Nations, with links to several other groups including Budjiti and Kunja.
Ngemba are the traditional custodians of the Brewarrina fish traps, and as such, were accustomed to sharing space and resource with other groups in times of abundance. Jason and Joseph have built a small business on the same sharing philosophy. Their ‘Come Walk With Me - Bourke Aboriginal Cultural Tours’ are a means of sharing a far scarcer and far less tangible commodity: knowledge. Through an unscripted walking tour through the town, Jason and Joseph have created a platform that allows them to trade information with tourists, locals and anyone who shares their thirst for knowledge.
“It’s about sharing stories. We want to pass on what we have learned and tell our stories, but we also want to hear other people’s views and share their experiences as well”.
With this clear vision, and the understanding of what the real value of sharing traditional knowledge is, the brothers are forging new opportunities that they hope will engage and empower young Aboriginal members of their community; which is their ultimate goal. They strongly encourage the local youth to join them on the learning and sharing journey, and play a key role in mentoring through dance and the cultural tours.
The tour ends at Bourke’s 2CUZ radio station, where Jason and Joseph showcase an impressive collection of traditional tools, such as spears, shields and grinding stones. It’s also a chance for the brothers to share some of the language they’ve picked up through extensive research, which highlights the importance of retaining cultural links. Holding up a hardwood ‘shield’, Jason says:
“We all call this a ‘shield’ because that is the category it fits into in the English language, but in Wangkumarra the name for this is ‘Puldri-Thulli’ - meaning ‘protect your meat’. So the name in its proper language gives the item greater meaning”
Bourke Aboriginal Cultural Tours play host to a bigger story; that is, the rectification of Aboriginal culture in the community. Although they no longer use Ngemba land in the same way their ancestors did, the brothers are using it as a vessel to preserve and pass on Aboriginal learning for future generations.