Marninwarntikura is committed to understanding the current and historical social and cultural complexities of the Fitzroy Valley. While contemporary traumas suffered by people in the Valley can be explained as the legacy of colonialism, they manifest themselves differently in different generations. Marninwarntikura recognises that time and space is needed for people to reflect on a past of cultural and personal loss, to grieve and to recover. This time can bring communities together on a journey of healing and reconstruction of the Valley’s rich social and cultural heritage.
Over the last two decades Fitzroy Valley women have nurtured partnerships between each other, community organisations and research institutes. Marninwarntikura and other groups have used these partnerships to assemble a body of empirical evidence as a basis of community re-building.
The organisation has initiated and engaged researches to undertake a comprehensive population survey designed to quantify the unique demographic character of the valley; it has negotiated community supported alcohol restrictions by forging partnerships with the Director of Liquor Licensing and the WA Police; It has conducted thorough review processes and social justice reports to analyse the effects of alcohol restrictions; and the organisation has embarked on the first Australian population-based study of the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders across the Valley through a wide ranging partnership incorporating the community, State Health Department, Sydney University and the George Institute.
This body of research is exhaustive and ground-breaking. It is changing the way that the Fitzroy Valley communities can engage with government. The government’s previous strategy, of centralised directed remote service delivery and intervention, is unable to respond to the Valley’s needs and concerns. A research directed dialogue is taking shape between the whole community and with government. Marninwarntikura and other community based organisations are ushering in a new era of community led governance. They are investing in a new service delivery paradigm, based on a fully integrated model of facilitation and engagement, which is responsive to the immediate and long-term needs, and dreams of the Valley’s communities.