The Bunuba people are the traditional owners of the land upon which the Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School stands.

As founding partners of the Studio School, the Bunuba community are central to Yiramalay’s immersive educational program. They instil a sense of ownership, cultural pride, understanding and respect for people, language and country in every student.

Bunuba Country

Yiramalay is located on the Leopold Downs Cattle Station. The land (and original buildings) were offered by the Bunuba people and are now excised from the pastoral lease of Leopold Downs.

Bunuba country reaches far beyond the Leopold Downs and Fairfield Cattle Stations, encompassing 6,500 square kilometres of the Kimberley. It is home to national parks, deep gorges and caves, springs and waterholes, and rugged mountain ranges.

Yiramalay students explore these diverse landscapes, learning about its historical and cultural significance from Bunuba Elders and mentors.

Language and culture

Bunuba is one of four main language groups in the Fitzroy Valley, alongside Gooniyandi, Waknajarri/Wangkatjungka and Nyikina. Language is central to Aboriginal culture and identity. It ties the people to their land, their ancestors, and their past – all the way back to the dreamtime.

Alongside dance and painting, Aboriginal ancestral ‘dreamings’ about country (how the world was created) have been passed down and told through language in stories and song.

The Bunuba people’s involvement in shaping the Studio School curriculum helps keep the Bunuba language and culture alive and thriving for the current and future generations.

A history of reconciliation

Leadership that embodies cultural pride, equality and reconciliation is embedded in Bunuba history.

Bunuba are the people of the famous Aboriginal warrior and leader Jandamarra – a man who took powerful action and inspired the Bunuba people to rise up against white colonisation.

Today, Bunuba leaders are taking political action of a different kind. Through projects like the Studio School, the Bunuba people are championing reconciliation and the social reconstruction of modern-day Indigenous life – action that will benefit communities across Australia for generations to come.

Banner image: Rainbow Serpent, painting by Kaylene Marr, Senior Mentor and Traditional Owner, Yiramalay

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