From October 30 – November 1, we were honoured to host Rona Googninda Charles (Ngarinyin and Nyikina), her two sons, John and Francis Divilli, and their research collaborator, Sally Treloyn (Willin Centre, University of Melbourne) here at the Sound Studies Initiative.  Rona, John and Francis are community leaders in a project dedicated to revitalizing and teaching the Junba song-dance tradition in their region of the West Kimberley.  They are also working with Sally on building research and community networks to support this work in perpetuity.

John (red hat, seated) describes how Junba fosters pride, healing and knowledge across both generations, and the geographic distance between where they live now and their ancestral homes.


During our week together, our Australian guests met and worked with members of the University community, USchool students from St. Catherine and John A. McDougall schools, the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta, and the Enoch Cree Nation.  Each gathering had a slightly different focus, of course, but all of them were about making connections, intercultural and intergenerational learning, and sharing a tradition that Rona and her sons explain as central to the resilience of their people.


At Sound Studies we are focused on research and community work rooted in the principle of reciprocity. For us, this was an opportunity to learn about the Junba tradition and about collaborative research methods that will help shape some of our research projects relating to cultural repatriation, and digital strategies in doing so.  In turn, we strove to offer our visitors a chance to connect with people who are also working towards the goals of cultural repatriation and revitalization, although from very different perspectives!  We honour the work of Rona, John, Francis and Sally, and we hope that they take back to Australia some new connections, ideas, support, and hopefully, friendships.  Oh, and a photo of the first snowman they ever made!


The first snowman. LtR Francis Divilli, Brianna Wells, Rona Googninda Charles, John Divilli

Thank you to the following people for helping to make the activities of this visit possible:

The Elders, Chief and Council members of Enoch Cree Nation

Dr. Patricia Steinhauer, University of Alberta

Renee Cantin, Enoch Cree Nation

Ralph Morin, Senior Cree Language Advisor to Enoch Nation

Bert Crowfoot, Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta

Dr. Chris Andersen, Faculty of Native Studies

Melania Woloszyn, USchool

Students and Teachers at St. Catherine’s and John A. MacDougall schools

Barbara Halladay, Kitaskinaw School

Oliver Rossier, Arts Collaboration Enterprise