This month, our friends at Wattendee Littlewell Aboriginal Corporation (WLAC) invited a group of NACC NRM staff to join them on Wattandee Country for an Elders Connect Day.
Our Aboriginal Custodianship team Priscilla Papertalk, Taj Mamid and Kyiesha Ronan, and Programs & Operations Manager Kane Watson headed out to Mingenew for a day of networking and cultural learning.
The day started with a group of Wattandee women performing a sweeping dance to make the group’s presence known to spirits, and to clear any bad spirits. Uncle Tristan Mongoo then lead the men in performing a dance about The Wathoo Story, also known as The Creation Story. This story is about the Freshwater Rainbow Serpent creating the Irwin River and the surrounding hills, and forming Wattandee sacred sited and ceremony grounds, which are located along the river and river mouth. It was then time for Wattandee Elder Thomas Cameron to carry out a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony, smoking the families first and then guests.
Seeking relief from the wild weather, the group then gathered at the Railway Station for a yarning session over kangaroo stew and damper. Attendees went around the table introducing themselves, speaking about where they each come from, the organisations they represent and what they strive to learn and achieve by working with WLAC. The yarning session provided an opportunity for the WLAC team to explain the history of the land, with which they hold a strong and respectful connection, their long term and short-term goals, and their hopes for future generations.
The Elders Connect Day was a great way to get out into the region, network with new people, and gain knowledge from Traditional Owners. Thank you to the Wattandee Littewell Aboriginal Corporation for making it happen and bringing people together to learn on Country.
This event was supported by the National Indigenous Australians Agency.