Will Palmer: Embracing His Cultural Heritage as a First Nations Tour Guide

Will Palmer: Embracing His Cultural Heritage as a First Nations Tour Guide

A Grandmother’s influencer – Will Palmer, a proud Arrernte man, attributes much of his cultural knowledge and passion for his heritage to his grandmother, Raelene Silverton. Growing up on Country, west of Alice Springs, Palmer was immersed in the traditions of the Arrernte people. His grandmother played a pivotal role in his upbringing, teaching him the Arrernte language, culturally significant stories, and deep knowledge of their land. Will Palmer: Embracing His Cultural Heritage as a First Nations Tour Guide

A New Career Path

Palmer’s journey into tourism began with the completion of a Certificate I in Tourism (Australian Indigenous Culture) at Charles Darwin University (CDU) TAFE. This education has paved the way for his first job as a First Nations tour guide, a role he feels deeply connected to.

“Before starting my role and training, I had little knowledge about tourism. However, I now feel that it is my calling. I genuinely enjoy conducting tours and raising awareness of our culture to visitors in Central Australia,” Palmer shares.

Thriving in the Tourism Industry

The Northern Territory’s tourism industry is a significant economic driver, valued at nearly $800 million. It attracts visitors from across Australia and the world, many of whom seek to learn about First Nations history, language, and culture. This growing interest in Indigenous tourism provides ample opportunities for individuals like Palmer.

“Tourism plays a vital role in Central Australia by providing employment and training opportunities for local Indigenous communities,” he explains. “It contributes to economic growth and serves as a platform for sharing our culture with visitors, offering educational experiences, and fostering cultural understanding.”

Education and Training

The training Palmer received from CDU TAFE has been instrumental in preparing him for his role. The certificate program enhanced his existing cultural and language knowledge, equipping him with essential skills for tour delivery, customer service, first aid, and ensuring visitor safety.

“The certificate has complemented my existing language and cultural knowledge by providing structured training in tour delivery,” Palmer says. “Additionally, it equipped me with essential skills such as understanding tour structure, customer service, first aid certification, and ensuring visitor safety.”

Looking to the Future

Palmer’s homelands are located 100km west of Mparntwe/Alice Springs. It is on this traditional land that he envisions his future, aiming to establish his own tours and inspire other Indigenous individuals to join the tourism industry.

“I am still learning; however, my long-term goal is to establish my own tours closer to my family homeland and to inspire and mentor other Indigenous individuals to join the tourism industry,” he shares.

Although he believes he has a long way to go before considering himself a role model, Palmer is committed to furthering his education and providing opportunities for others. He recently took a significant step toward this goal by enrolling in a Certificate III in Tourism at CDU.

A Bright Path Ahead

Will Palmer’s dedication to preserving and sharing his cultural heritage through tourism is a testament to the profound impact his grandmother and his education have had on him. As he continues to grow and develop in his role, Palmer’s vision of fostering cultural understanding and inspiring future generations remains at the forefront of his journey.

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Source: https://nit.com.au/29-05-2024/11675/it-is-my-calling-first-nations-student-channels-passion-for-traditional-language-and-culture-into-successful-career

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