Numbulwar is a remote Aboriginal community located on the Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory, one of the most isolated of the main Arnhem Land communities. Home to 700 people (91 per cent Indigenous), the most common languages in Numbulwar are Kriol (48 per cent), Wubuy (14 per cent), English (11 per cent), and Anindilyakwa (6 per cent). Numbulwar’s people are from a range of traditional owner groups, from Ngukurr up to Blue Mud Bay, including some from Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island. The land Numbulwar is built on belongs to the Nunggayinbala clan.
Enterprise Learning Projects (ELP) visited Numbulwar in early January 2017, initiated by Elder Yulki Nunggumajbarr. The goal of the first visit was to introduce how ELP work with communities, listen to ideas and aspirations, then map a pathway forward.
Yulki introduced us to the Numbulwar Weavers, a talented group of women weaving baskets from traditional pandanus and abandoned fishing nets. Previously the women were making and selling the baskets through the local school, but more intensive support was needed to make it a viable business.
The group workshopped ideas and identified an opportunity to use traditional weaving to create an enterprise pathway. Their long-term aspiration is to establish the Numburindi Art Centre in Numbulwar.
“Why can’t you look for a job? We only here, it’s not a big community. There’s not much. We want to make our jobs. We’ll start business, but we need someone to run this business too.
We want to have our own business, to run it.” Yulki - Elder Numbulwar
The Numbulwar community’s vision is to establish inclusive social enterprises that support the wider community. At the heart of this vision is the desire to support an increase in knowledge, the maintenance and transmission of culture, and a better understanding of business to enable people to develop economic independence and agency.
Precious Plastics Numbulwar creates opportunities for individual artists and the community to use their unique cultural identity as a way to participate in the economy. This project is driven by a core group of 10 Aboriginal women, respected Elders, renowned for their artistry in weaving…