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Indigenous primary school students find their voice on Noongar Radio's Koorlangkas Takeover Week

Giovanni Torre -

Indigenous primary school children are on the air this week as part of Noongar Radio's Koorlangkas (Children's) Takeover Week.

The takeover, part of National Children's Week celebrations, began on Monday at Moorditj Noongar Community College in Midland, with students running the broadcast.

The students interviewed Indigenous authors, business owners, and artists as well as reading Indigenous poems and discussing what their culture means to them.

Elder Roma Winmar, broadcaster Sharon Wood Kenney and Glenys Opum from Noongar Radio were on hand supporting and encouraging the students.

Ms Wood Kenney said children were learning to find their voice and about the importance of integrity and "the proper way" of broadcasting.

Dr Winmar and Ms Wood Kenney have a yarn with the students at Moorditj Noongar Community College. Photo by G. Torre.

She said the exercise was showcasing a model of education and two-way learning.

"We are also showcasing our Elders and what they bring to the table, and demonstrating pride and respect," she said.

"Kids from all around the state come to this school and are really comfortable with their learning and with their language."

Ms Wood Kenney said the children's takeovers started a couple of years ago after the station saw how much children enjoyed visiting and going on air.

"We said 'why not let the kids run it because they love it'. Every time they would go away and want to learn more about their culture, politics about whatever topics they had spoken about," she said.

"The kids feel like they are already on top of it because they belong.

"We showcase Elders too... We had all these Elders who thought they didn't want to do radio and they loved it."

Ms Winmar, who Ms Wood Kenney described as a "superstar in education", has worked with the school teaching language for 21 years and in education for 37 years.

"It is revitalising. It is in the DNA and when you start bringing it back there is an awakening," she said.

Deputy principal Emma Colquhoun said the children "absolutely flourished all day" running a broadcast.

Years six student Sharteque Prosser-Farmer the best part of the broadcast was having a yarn and interviewing people.

Her cousin Shartaya Bennell, also year six, enjoyed interviewing people.

"Getting to know more about them. I was shy at first but then I got used to it... and it makes me feel proud."

She said students benefitted from the experience.

"Confidence and they gained in how they see themselves," she said.

Ms Wood Kenney said the children had taken to broadcasting very well.

"These kids, when we came here the first time they were petrified to get on radio and now we can't stop them," she said.

"It's the Dreamtime story of the future."

The other primary schools participating this week are Yanchep Lagoon, Greenmount, Westminster, West Byford and Challis, as well as Pineview Kindy.

The Koorlangkas Takeover Week is supported by the WA Department of Communities.

Noongar Radio is the only Indigenous radio station in the Perth metropolitan region and has been operating since 2009.

The station broadcasts across Perth on 100.9fm and digital radio.

Noongar Radio aims to give Indigenous people a strong voice and increase participation in both economic and social activities whilst strengthening Indigenous Culture and expression.

The station is committed to the broadcast of positive, informed, empowering programming which support and promote the achievements and aspirations of the Noongar community it serves.

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