Indigenous young women discover their roots
Wesley Youth Hope recently chaperoned a trip to the Northern Territory to encourage young Indigenous women to connect with their culture.
Known as the ‘Girls Deadly Cultural Connection Camp’, eight young women travelled from Sydney to visit Indigenous parks, lands, art sites and communities to learn significant cultural connections to the land, discover how Aboriginal people lived in past generations, eat traditional foods and develop new skills such as basket weaving.
“This program has allowed each of the young girls to have a greater understanding of our culture, the longest culture in the world, and we hope that this experience has led to them feeling more connected to the land, to their heritage and to themselves,” Youth Hope Indigenous Team Leader, Bobbie-Jane said.
The group visited world heritage Kakadu National Park, where they ate traditional foods, including eating green ants for the first time.
“This camp has connected me with my culture through art and learning about traditional foods. Learning about eating off the land and only using what you need,” one camper said.
They toured sacred burial grounds and art sites at Gunbalanya in west Arnhem Land and visited the Injalak Art Centre, where they met with elders to learn about the process of weaving to make baskets and bracelets.
“Meeting elders in community and learning how to weave was her unforgettable moment,” another camper said.
They also interacted with well-known Aboriginal artist Manuel Pamkal, while visiting Katherine, who showed them traditional painting techniques of the Jawoyn people and native customs, including making a fire and spear throwing.
“I feel more connected to my culture through the workshop,” a camper said. “This experience has made me want to know and understand my culture, so it doesn’t die.”