Lake Sam­bell hosts spe­cial cer­e­mony

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - BY WENDY STEPHENS

LAST Fri­day morn­ing Lake Sam­bell be­came the stage for a tra­di­tion­ally Abo­rig­i­nal cer­e­mony.

Dal­las Mu­garra, a lan­guage as­sis­tant at Bright P12 Col­lege and also Woor­agee Pri­mary School, de­liv­ered the cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence.

More than 40 peo­ple, many de­scen­dants of lo­cal indige­nous groups, trav­elled from Mel­bourne to at­tend the event.

Mr Mu­garra be­gan with the Smok­ing Cer­e­mony a rit­ual that is per­formed by abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple wher­ever they go, re­gard­less of dif­fer­ent lan­guages and totems.

“It is our ‘Wel­come to Coun­try’ all over Aus­tralia,” he said.

Mr Mu­garra ex­plained how they do not burn the leaves but heat them up to pro­duce smoke and why it is done.

“Of­ten we pick up and carry bad en­ergy in our bod­ies and in our minds, and the smoke cleanses our path for the rest of the day or for the time that we stay in that place,” he said.

“This is a very im­por­tant part of our cul­tural her­itage, our knowl­edge and our iden­tity.

“All the trees and leaves have names and dif­fer­ent pur­poses in our lan­guage.”

He said singing and danc­ing also forms an im­por­tant part of these cer­e­monies.

“As I sing and play the rhythm sticks, the bad en­ergy will dis­ap­pear be­cause it does not like smoke, or happy peo­ple with big hearts,” Mr Mu­garra said.

“As we dance with the chil­dren you will learn that you have been danc­ing all your life, even in your mother’s belly, be­fore you were born, now and for­ever.”

Fol­low­ing the cer­e­mony a lunch was en­joyed by all those in at­ten­dance.

CUL­TURAL TRA­DI­TION: Dal­las Mugurra plays the didgeri­doo depict­ing the friend­ship that is ex­tended to the peo­ple of the lo­cal area.

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