Australian hunting initiative benefits homeless | Pacific Beat

Australian hunting initiative benefits homeless

Australian hunting initiative benefits homeless

Updated 15 February 2012, 13:27 AEDT

Wild wallaby, bush turkey and goose killed by Aboriginal hunters is being served up in a nursing home in Australia's Northern Territory.

It's the result of a project in Katherine....which encourages homeless Aborigines to hunt . Iskhandar Razak joined the group on one of their recent hunting trips.

Presenter: Iskhandar Razak

Speaker: Strongbala activities coordinator, Leonard Croll Strongbala coordinator Phil Richards; Reverend Mitch Fialkowski; Dora Robertson

Sound of Indigenous singers

ISKHANDAR RAZAK: The StrongBala men's group in Katherine is preparing to go on the hunt for some bush tucker. For the past six months the group has been running regular hunts in the wilds of the Northern Territory.

Plenty of preparation goes into every foray, and that includes making sure the spears are in deadly condition. But these days guns are also taken, and used.

(Sound of gunshot.)

HUNTER: Got a little one.

ISKHANDAR RAZAK: StrongBala means 'strong man' and while the group aims to revive Aboriginal masculine culture around Katherine, they say the hunts aren't about machismo.

The group's activities coordinator Leonard Croll says it's about healthy living and everything killed is used.

LEONARD CROLL: To get that sort of meat and bush tucker, like other sort of root vegetables and things like that is quite important for general health. Like a lot of wheat and refined foods aren't so good for a countryman diet.

ISKHANDAR RAZAK: But it's not the only reason. StrongBala coordinator Phil Richards says the Katherine region is plagued with homelessness and drug abuse and the hunts are a way to fight that.

PHIL RICHARDS: Most of these guys live, sleep rough. They live in the long grass and they're sort of, there are 500 people in Katherine who are homeless, and this, we get a regular 20 to 25 people here every day and we're re trying to sort of spin them out of that cycle of hopelessness in town into a new way of thinking.

ISKHANDAR RAZAK: The hunters aren't the only ones getting fit and healthy by living off the land. The Reverend Mitch Fialkowski works at the local nursing home, where there are many Indigenous residents who have an undying hunger for the tucker of their youth.

MITCH FIALKOWSKI: They wanted to go hunting, but at their age and with their abilities it's a little bit hard to take these ladies hunting for bush tucker.

ISKHANDAR RAZAK: So now part of the catch from every hunt goes to the nursing home.

MITCH FIALKOWSKI: Now that's the wallaby one and this is our famous kangaroo stew.

ISKHANDAR RAZAK: Much to the delight of the residents, who now get regular banquets of roasted magpie goose, barramundi and kangaroo tail.

DORA ROBERTSON: Yeah, kangaroo tail and turkey. Good one. He make me really good.

ISKHANDAR RAZAK: And StrongBala's Leonard Croll says that's a morale boosting for the hunters too.

LEONARD CROLL: I think that's like a return; like they're giving back from being taken care of through their life and actually going back to the old people's home and mingle with the old people there and bring food to them is, yeah, like a heartfull exchange.

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