30 November 2019

A momentous gathering of the Yuin Nation to heal country and spirit

| Lisa Herbert
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Gulaga Mountain, Mother Mountain, Healing Mountain. Photo: David Rogers

Gulaga Mountain, Mother Mountain, Healing Mountain. Photo: David Rogers

Gulaga Mountain is the place of ancestral origin within the mythology of the Yuin People, she is the mother of Yuin Man, and many believe the mother of all man.

This Sunday, December 1, Tilba Sportsground in the shadow of Gulaga, will be the setting for a historic gathering of the Yuin Nation, a bunaan, or corroboree, a coming together to heal the country, heal the spirit and also to call the rain.

Yuin Elder Warren Ngarrae Foster is calling all mobs together. “The country is sick”, he implores “it’s time for something to happen, some healing.”

Mr Foster is from the Yuin-Monaro tribe of Wallaga Lake. He has been calling out on social media and human networks, for the Yuin Nation and all first nation’s people, to come together and dance to heal country and heal our spirit, he says “I put it out there to see the response and it was overwhelming.”

Corroborees, or bunaans in local language, are open performances in which everyone may participate, but with highly structured songs and dances that require great knowledge and skill to perform. “This is the first such gathering for over 150 years,” says Mr Foster.

Ashleigh McGuire, founder of Ripe Mentoring, a not-for-profit Koori tutoring and mentoring program, has been posting on Facebook about how to participate in this event respectfully.

Giiyong Festival 2018 brought us together with our Indigenous brothers & sisters. Photo: David Rogers

Giiyong Festival 2018 brought us together with our Indigenous brothers & sisters. Photo: David Rogers

Among the many suggestions is to carpool and offer people a lift, “especially young ones that don’t have cars”, bring food and chairs, shells and other ‘earth materials’, wear black leggings and t-shirts for the ochre, and importantly “bring your open minds, smiles and tears, pride, passion and patience.”

“In light of how difficult this year has been for injustice, land misuse we ask you bring your positive energy. Unity is healing, allow your spirit to be healed” says Ms McGuire.

Gulaga Mountain symbolises the mother. The mountain, as well as the surrounding area, holds particular significance for Aboriginal women.

Generations of Yuin People have come to the sacred women’s site on the slopes of Gulaga, to share stories and conduct ceremonies. It’s an important cultural place and an extremely spiritual place for Aboriginal people, and it’s also beloved by the wider community.

“I chose this place which is a birthing place for Yuin People. We also believe it’s the birthing place for all man. The first two humans Toonko and Ngaardi were born here,” Mr Foster `explains.

In 2006 the NSW Government formally handed back Gulaga and Biamanga National Parks to the Yuin People. Many believe that the traditional ownership of the two sacred mountains, Gulaga and Mumbulla (men’s mountain) has led to a cultural revival.

Yuin Country runs along the East Coast from Sydney to Mallacoota. There are 13 Indigenous languages from this vast coastal area. Warren Foster speaks four of these languages, Djiringanj, Ngerigo, Monaro and Dhurga.

It takes great knowledge and skill to perform these dances. Photo: David Rogers

It takes great knowledge and skill to perform these dances. Photo: David Rogers

Being invited to participate in a ceremony such as this alongside our Indigenous brothers and sisters, is a true privilege. Perhaps it is time to turn our ears to listen and learn from the people that have lived abundantly on this ‘wide brown land’ for thousands of years.

Many Yuin people are calling Sunday’s Nation Dance Yuin event the country’s “largest, most powerful healing corroboree in history, it’s bringing together all First Nations people in unity alongside Yuin nation’s tribes.”

Mr Foster asks Indigenous people to “come around 10 – 11 am to prepare and practice, bring blanket and food, water. We will go as long as the energy is working, it could be all night.”

“All our friends and families and Non Indigenous brothers and sisters who are not dancing can come between 11:30 – 12:30.

“Cos I’m gonna do the welcome dance and smoking ceremony around 12:45 then we all dance together as one at 1:00 pm.

“Let’s make this day something to remember for the rest of our lives much love and respect.”

Yuin Elder Warren Foster, with his son Warren believes it is time for healing. Photo: David Rogers

Yuin Elder Warren Foster, with his son Warren Jnr, believes it is time for healing. Photo: David Rogers

If unable to make it to the Gulaga gathering at the Tilba Sportsground people are encouraged to dance where they are, on their country.

“It’s gonna be epic and hopefully heal us and change some attitudes, then we can go on together, all brothers and sisters. Maybe we can look at each other not through colour, but through spirit.”

This is a drug and alcohol free event.

You can find more information and make contact HERE.

For more from Warren Foster, click play…

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Rev. Jim Davis2:29 am 03 Dec 19

This Warms my Heart an makes me so proud, I met Warren and Uncle Max Harrison when attending Gaboo Ted Thomas’ dreaming camp in January 1990.
I stayed in country an extra 21/2 months not seeing near enough, had always intended to return but fate and or creators will has not got me there yet.
So many wonderful friends an memories! The Best Is Yet To Come!

Love, Wongi, aka. Jim Davis.
Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources
Bearsville, New York, USA

A wonderful initiative! I can’t be there, but I join you all in Spirit!

pirkko rogers8:53 pm 30 Nov 19

this so awesome,thank you!

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