Home' Scoop : Scoop 55 Autumn 2011 Contents hose who know Lockie Cooke know
him as a talented athlete with a spirited personality.
What they may not know is that his determination
extends far wider than the WA Institute of Sport
(WAIS), where he’s on a scholarship for kayaking,
and the North Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club,
where he’s a volunteer surf lifesaver.
Through his charity Indigenous Communities
Education Appeal (ICEA), Lockie is changing
the lives of students in the Kimberley. In turn,
this part-time commerce student is also helping
non-indigenous youth in the city to become aware
of indigenous history and culture. It’s a big task
for a 20-year-old western suburbs boy, but his
dedication is earning him respect statewide.
He’s been ‘adopted’ by the Ejai family, of the
Bardi people at One Arm Point. “They’ve given me
a bush name, Binjalli,” says Lockie. “It’s the name
of an elder from a couple of generations back. He
was well-respected, a great musician and just a fun
man, and that name has been passed on to me.
“To earn the respect of the mob and be given
a name like that is pretty special,” he says. “It’s
because we’ve been true to our word with ICEA.
We have never said we would do something and
not gone through with it.”
Lockie’s passion was stirred in 2006 when,
as a Year 11 student at Christ Church Grammar
School, he went on a Garnduwa leadership camp
in the Kimberley. “I developed great friendships
and wanted to give something back because
I could see they were held back by a lack of
facilities,” says Lockie, who spent the next few
months fundraising and coordinating a book drive.
A year later, with the help of a freight sponsor,
Lockie delivered books and money to schools in One
Arm Point, Djarindjin-Lombadina and Beagle Bay.
A local took him to the communities. “We went
camping, mud-crabbing, ate turtle and generally
just got amongst it with the mob sitting around the
fire,” he says. “Seeing how stoked the communities
were with what we were doing, seeing it in their
faces, really got me fired up to do something.”
When Lockie inter viewed the elders and school
principals for a documentar y, school attendance was
revealed as the most vital issue. So he established
an incentive program, offering footballs and toys to
students whose attendance was above 85 per cent
for the term. It boosted attendance significantly.
In Perth, 10 schools and eight community
groups are involved. Fundraising activities have
ranged from art exhibitions to surfing contests.
“At every event, we tap into indigenous culture,”
says Lockie. “We might have indigenous tucker
tasting, didgeridoo workshops, or bring elders
down for cultural awareness-raising seminars.”
Lockie says education needs to start early so
non-indigenous youths don’t grow up with the
negative per ceptions prevalent among adults and
often portrayed in the media. In 2010, he took 15
kids from Perth schools to the Kimberley. “T hey
sit around the camp fire with the mob and their
passion just takes off,” says Lockie. “They become
ICEA ambassadors,” he adds.
“T he big thing for me was learning how the
culture is based on respect – respect for each
other, respect for the land. And in respecting the
land, the land respects them back and provides
food, water and shelter.”
It’s that culture that needs to be preser ved.
“When I’m up north with the communities,
they talk about lots of the bad things that
have happened, but when asked what the most
important thing is now, they all say it’s about
passing on their culture.”
He points to One Arm Point, where school
attendance has skyrocketed. “Every fortnight
they have a cultural day where elders take the
whole school out for traditional activities such
as fishing, camping, painting, learning about the
ocean cur rents, the sun, the different seasons and
maintaining the languag e,” says Lockie.
He says he’s hoping to get funding from the
Department of Indig enous Affairs to put together
a strategic plan for the future for ICEA.
“I’m following my passion,” confirms Lockie.
“My reward is seeing the joy in the faces of the
kids up in the communities, and in breaking down
the barriers and empowering my indigenous mates.
“I also get joy from seeing the passion grow in
other ‘white fellas’. These kids are becoming so
interested in the project. I can see I am genuinely
having an effect at a grass roots level.” S
Visit iceafoundation.com .au
“I’m following my passion. My reward
is in breaking down barriers and
empowering my indigenous mates”
Ph: 6460 6470
Meet with like-minded singles
aged 25 to 45 in Perth Cafes
Links Archive Scoop 54 Summer 2010 Scoop 56 Winter 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page