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The Noongar (alternate spellings: Nyungar and Nyoongar) are an Australian Aboriginal people who live in the south west corner of Western Australia from Geraldton on the west coast to Esperance on the south coast. Their tribal lands extend from Jurien Bay in the North to the southern coast and east to Ravensthorpe and Southern Cross.
It has been suggested that prior to the arrival of Europeans the Noongar numbers were between 6,000 and tens of thousands. Violence and diseases such as influenza and smallpox, took a heavy toll on the population , however nowadays the Noongar population is said to number more than 28,000 .
The Noongar considered themselves civilised especially in comparison with the 'invading' British. Reflecting this they called them 'Djanga' or 'djanak' meaning 'white devils'. . From early on in their dealings with the Europeans they were wary and horrifed when they saw the waste and slaughter that they saw had been brought to their ways. They had large extended familes and a respect and reverance for the land that fed them.
Yagan, was the head of the Noongar when English settlers first arrived in the swan river in 1829 and Captain James Stirling declared that the local tribes were Britsh subjects . Although the Noongar at first traded amicably with the settlers, as time wore on rifts and misunderstandings developed, and attacks and reprisal attacks grew. For example, the Noongar practice of burning the land was mistakenly seen as an act of hostility by the settlers, and the Noongar saw the settlers' livestock as fair game to replace the dwindling stocks of native animals due to the actions of the settlers. Yagan was eventually beheaded and is now seen by many as one of the first indigenous resistance fighters . 
The FATSIL website (Federation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages), has stated that out of thirteen dialects spoken by the Noongar people at the time of white settlement, only five still remain . The word 'Noongar' can be roughly traslated into English as 'human being'.
Today the Noongar language is regarded as endangered with few fluent speakers although there has been a revival of interest in recent years. The Noongar Language and Culture Centre was set up by concerned individuals and has now grown to include offices in Bunbury, Northam and Perth.
No visitor can come to Western Australia without noticing that there are a lot of placenames ending in 'up', places like Joondalup, Nannup , Manjimup and many others. This is because in the Noongar language, 'up' means 'place of'. For example the name "Ongerup " means "Place of the Male Kangaroo".
Noongar people live in many country towns throughout the south west as well as in the major population centres of Perth, Bunbury, Geraldton, Esperance and Albany. Many country Noongar people have developed long standing relationships with wadjila (whitefella) farmers and continue to hunt kangaroo and gather bush tucker as well as to teach their children stories about the land. In a few areas in the south west visitors can go on bushtucker walks, trying foods such as: Kangaroo, emu, Quongdong jam or relish, bush tomatoes, witchetty grub paté & bush honey.
In Perth, the Nyoongar believe that the Darling Escarpment is said to represent the body of a Waugal /Wagyl /Waagal - a snakelike being from Dreamtime that meandered over the land creating rivers, waterways and lakes, it is taught that the Waugal created the Swan River [].
Also in Perth, the Mount Eliza Scarp , was an important site for the Nyoongar. It was a hunting site where kangaroos were herded and driven over the edge to provide meat for gathering clans. In this context, the ‘clan’ is a local descent group - larger than a family but based on family links through a common ancestry.
Noongar culture is particularly strong with the written word. The plays of Jack Davis are on the school syllabus in several Australian states. Kim Scott won the 2000 Miles Franklin Award for his novel 'Benang' and Sally Morgan's autobiography "My Place" was a best seller and multiple award winner.
Yirra Yaakin  describes itself as the response to the Aboriginal Community’s need for positive self-enhancement through artistic expression. It is a theatre company which strives for community development and which also has a drive to create "exciting, authentic and culturally appropriate Indigenous theatre".
The Noongar Season
The Noongar has a close connection with the earth and as a consequence they divided the year into 6 distinct seasons that corresponded with moving to different habitats and feeding patterns based on seasonal foods.
Birak - December/January
- Dry and hot
Burned sections of scrubland to force animals into the open for easier hunt.
Bunuru - February/March
- The hottest part of the year, with sparse rainfall throughout.
They moved to estuaries for fishing.
Djeran - April/May
- The cooler weather begins.
Fishing continued and bulbs and seeds were collected for food.
Makuru - June/July
- Cold fronts that have until now brushed the lower south west coast begin to cross further north, and gales and storms occur with increasing frequency. This is usually the wettest part of the year.
Moved inland to hunt once rains had replenished inland water resources.
Djilba - August/September
- Often the coldest part of the year, with clear, cold nights and days, or warmer, rainy and windy periods. As the nights begin to warm up there are more clear, sunny days.
Roots were collected and emus, possums and kangaroo were hunted.
Kambarang - October/November
- A definite warming trend is accompanied by longer dry periods and fewer cold fronts crossing the coast. The height of the wildflower season
They moved towards the coast where frogs, tortoises and freshwater crayfish were caught.
Since the Noongar are largely urbanised or concentrated in major regional towns studies have shown that the direct economic impact of the Noongar community on the WA economy was estimated to range from $500 million to $700 million per annum.
The Noongar people like other Aboriginal people are involved in Native Title disputes with the state government.
As a consequence of the 'Stolen Generation' and problems integrating with modern westernised society many difficult issues face the present day Noongar. For example the 'Noongar Men of the SouthWest' gathering in 1996 outlined the following major community problems:
- Alcohol & Drugs
- Diet & Nutrition
- Language & Culture
- Domestic violence
- Father and Son relationships
Many of these issues are not unique to the Noongar, but in many cases they are unable to receive the appropriate government agency care. The report that was produced after this gathering also stated that Noongar men die 20 years sooner than non-Aboriginal men, and go to hospital 3 times more often.
The Noongar still have large extended families and it can be hard to fit into the available structures of sheltered housing in Western Australia Paper on Housing
The Noongar themselves are taking their own issues, for example, the Noongar Patrol System, which is an Aboriginal Advancement Council initiative. It was set up to deter Aboriginal young people from offending behaviour and reduce the likelihood of their contact with the Criminal Justice System. Most people in Perth would associate this with patrols run in the entertainment hotspot Northbridge. The Patrol use mediation and negotiation with indigenous youth in an attempt to curb anti-social and offending behaviour of young people who come into the city at night.
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