Returning to Guugu Yimithirr Sea Country
This Documentary was made in collaboration with the Hope Vale Community, Saltwater Projects (Pelican Expeditions) and Youthworx Productions on the 10 year Anniversary of the Project.
The Hope Vale – Pelican Project is a two- four week on-Country camp held each September, which provides rest and respite for the community while engaging the youth with daily activities that promote caring for Country, health, marine science and preservation of culture. This program is community driven, and was initiated in response to suicide and youth problems, and is designed to address these issues in tailored and creative ways. It was initiated in response to a letter from a 28 year old Hope Vale woman named Coraleen Bowen. Coraleen’s letter expressed her despair at the number of suicides that were occurring in the Hope Vale community and requested Saltwater Projects to come up and help design a program to address this. Pelican1, a 63ft sailing catamaran designed as a platform for social, educational and environmental projects was being built when she sent the letter. Coraleen’s hope was that a Sea Country project would provide a life changing experience for the young people of the community.
The HopeVale/Pelican project is now an exceptional program. Its basis in long term collaboration with the community, combining Culturally relevant traditional and contemporary activities and linking the community to outside resources is a rarity in the usual fly in/fly out approach to Indigenous issues in remote communities. The ultimate aim of the program is increasing empowerment and general wellbeing of participants and ultimately decreasing suicide. The program has been recognised in national media through in-depth articles in many newspapers and programs such as the 7.30 report and Message Stick (SBS). It won the Queensland Reconciliation Partnership Award in 2008.
Hope Vale/Pelican 2013 was a smaller scale program from our usual camp out of Cape Flattery, Allum or Starke which are coastal areas closest to the community of Hope Vale. We ran daily trips from Cooktown with a focus on connecting Aboriginal kids in care to the Reef. Working with Elders from Hope Vale (Des and Estelle Bowen being the key organisers), we had a full boat every day and a busy bus and car service organised between Hope Vale and Cooktown. The program marked our tenth year of involvement with Guugu Yimithirr Sea Country. The film gives a good overview of the year's program and reflection on the program as a whole.
The key sponsor for the 2013 program was Healthscope and we had some Healthscope staff on board to knowledge share and gain some cross-cultural training.
Previous media about HopeVale/Pelican project