Mandandanji Dreaming Festival makes history

THE Mandandanji people hosted their first Dreaming festival as part of the Easter in the Country festivities on Saturday at Walkabout Park on the eastern edge of Roma beside Bungil Creek.

The Dreaming festival included Aboriginal dance performances and workshops, stage entertainment, food stalls including bush tucker, displays, games and activities.

“Easter in the Country is being hosted on our land, and we’re honoured to take part by hosting the Mandandanji Dreaming festival as part of the celebrations,” Mandandanji board chair Darren Manns said.

“This is about reconciliation and awareness. It’s a pretty special day, this is history in the making.”

The Wirri Wakka dance troupe performed several dances including their welcome dance, a spirit dance, and mosquito dance, before conducting workshops.

Dance troupe member Calvin Duncan said the Wirri Wakka members danced before they could walk.

“I watched my three older brothers and just wanted to do what they do, they taught me how to dance,” he said.

Robert Duncan, another Wirri Wakka dance troupe member, said the workshops provided people of all ages an opportunity to learn Aboriginal dances.

“A lot of the techniques of Aboriginal dancing is about mimicking animals, listening to the beat and finding the rhytm of the song,” he said.

Elder Aunty Alex said the Mandandanji people had been involved around Roma and throughout Western Queensland for a long time.

Mandandanji people have a strong connection with, and care for the country, and the oldest dated site on Mandandanji country dates to 9000 years ago.

“This festival has been so many years in the making.

“It’s terrific to see this finally happen, and heartwarming to host it on country,” she said

Story by Marguerite Cuddihy originally published in The Western Star 17/4/17

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