On 26 July 2007, the Dawita Cultural Centre was opened, which included an Indigenous Knowledge Centre (IKC). The IKC was established in partnership with then Iama Island Council, now Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC), and State Library of Queensland. In addition to providing a library service, the IKC is a space used by the community to revive, preserve, and share their culture through language, art, song, and dance. Several projects and programs have been delivered through the IKC, capturing stories and sharing knowledge.
Iama (Yam Island, Yama or Turtle Back Island) is one of the Central Islands in the Torres Strait.
Stories Under Tagai
In 2012, discussions between State Library of Queensland, Mayor Gela, local government members, schools, and community groups throughout the Torres Strait, identified a need for more family literacy and cultural education projects. Through funding from State Library’s Expanding Horizon grant, the ‘Stories Under Tagai’ project was brought to life. With additional funding from The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA), TSIRC and Torres Shire Council, the project was delivered to six locations: Badu, Hammond Island, Iama, Mabuiag, Poruma and Thursday Island.
Divisional Managers and IKC staff of Iama consulted with the community to tailor the project to meet their artistic and cultural interests and vision. The team organised dates and venues, identifying cultural brokers, storytellers, rangers, artists, local experts and other staff to participate.
With consultation completed, the IKC Coordinator organised ‘Stories Under Tagai’ –the story of Aka Medthre – to be undertaken as a two-day workshop during the Easter holidays. The Iama Community converged in the IKC and participated in bringing the story of Aka Medthre to life. In storytelling by Cr Walter Mackie, artist Glen Mackie captured the story as a mural on the Dawita Cultural Centre wall (which is still there today). An evening activity was planned to use the app 'Star Walk' installed on several iPads, and Ranger David Baragud took the children, adults, and Elders of Iama on a star gazing journey.
The Story of Aka Medthre
Stories Under Tagai
The Iama IKC is one of ten IKCs operated by the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) in partnership with State Library of Queensland. The other IKCs are located at Badu, Boigu, Dauan, Erub, Hammond Island, Kubin Village, Mabuiag, Poruma and Warraber.
Exploring the Collection
If you’d like to explore some of State Library’s collection items relating to Iama Island, we have a few suggestions in the links below:
- Iama Wakai Tusi/Voices of Iama: Traditional and Contemporary Music and Dance of Iama/Yam Island
Annotated and produced by Will Kepa, Karl Neuenfeldt, and Nigel Pegrum: accompanying DVD filmed by Murray Lui and edited by Brett Charles. The DVD consists of a mixture of interview material, music and dance performances, and scenic and environmental information that help the viewer gain a sense of place and space.
- TR 1791 Margaret Lawrie Collection of Torres Strait Islands Material 1964-1998
Material relating to Margaret Lawrie and the Torres Strait Islands, including the book, Myths and Legends of the Torres Strait, which includes a section on Boigu Island.
- Yam, Island of Torres Strait/photography & coordination: Travis Teske; information (et al)
Pictorial study of Yam Island for schools; community including history and genealogies; facilities and services; ceremonial sites; mythology; natural well.
Celebrating 20 Years of IKCs
In 2002, the first Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs) were developed in partnership with then Aboriginal Community and Island Councils across Queensland. Seven IKCs were opened in 2002 with many more to follow over the years.
This year thirteen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Shire and Regional Councils will celebrate the role their IKCs play in their communities; as libraries, meeting places, hubs and keeping places.
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