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New Seasonal Calendar supports the Masig Island community in their quest to preserve cultural knowledge

The Masig community has worked closely with Torres Strait Regional Authority’s (TSRA) Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) team over the past 18 months to develop a new seasonal calendar that brings to light the old way of marking annual seasonal changes.

The project was a collaboration with local Traditional Owners, the TSRA TEK team, Masigalgal Rangers and Masigalgal RNTBC (PBC) to promote traditional knowledge for their land and sea country and to help with the community’s aspirations to preserve the Kulkulgau Ya language of Masig and the Torres Strait Central Islands.

TSRA Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen, said the TEK program was set up by TSRA’s Land and Sea Management Unit (LSMU) in response to concerns from many Traditional Owners that Indigenous cultural knowledge about their local environment, was being lost to the island’s younger people. He also expressed his appreciation to the Masig Elders and community members, specifically Traditional Owners Mr Moses Mene and Mr Wilfred William for the generous contribution of their time and cultural knowledge throughout the project.

“The LSMU’s solution to this problem was to develop an electronic database system that community members can access to record their traditional knowledge on a system that most importantly, also provides protection to their personal information,” Mr Stephen said.

“The TEK Team  continuously strives to ensure this protection of sensitive traditional knowledge is maintained on all  11 communities across ten islands that the system has been implemented, as well as to promote more general traditional cultural knowledge via the production of seasonal information posters and promotion materials.

“This  learning tool has been reproduced as a poster that tells the story of how the people from Masig Island in the central Torres Strait have survived and thrived off the land and sea since time immemorial.

“The poster version depicts important elements of traditional knowledge including the predominant seasonal winds and general signs of weather changes  through their intimate understanding of the islands, marine systems, cloud formations and star constellation by which they navigated, hunted, gardened and lived alongside nature in their part of the world.”

The Masigalgal Seasonal Calendar was officially launched by Mr Ned Mosby, Masigalgal Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) Deputy Chair, at the local Tagai school on 7thOctober.

Masig TSRA member, Ms Hilda Mosby, who holds responsiblility for its Environment Portfolio, also spoke on the calendar’s significance and the Rangers all added their insights into the original concepts and background leading up to the final product.

Following the speeches, the schoolchildren delighted the crowd with displays of cultural songs and dance.

Further information can be obtained by contacting the Masigalgal Rangers on 0740900569 or Belinda Stanley of the TSRA’s TEK team on 0740690704

Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people are advised this website may contain names, images and recordings of people who have passed.