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|Members of the Bamaga group perform cultural dances during NAIDOC celebrations at Dubbo South High School.|
Bamaga Youth Group Cultural Visit
It isn’t often that Aboriginal young people and Torres Strait Island young people get to meet and share their faith and culture with each other. Thanks to capable planning and execution by the Rev’d Gloria Shipp in Dubbo, the extensive fundraising done by the Bamaga group themselves, and the additional financial support of ABM’s supporters, such a meeting was made possible.
Bamaga is a small community about 40 kilometres from the tip of Cape York. It was settled by Torres Strait Islanders from Saibai Island when that island was devastated by high tides shortly after World War II – early Climate Change refugees.
Late in 2018, 18 young people and adults from Bamaga travelled to Dubbo, in the central west of New South Wales, for a week of sharing and praying with local groups – some Aboriginal and some not. The Bamaga visitors shared their stories and dances with local Aboriginal elders, the Delroy Campus (of Dubbo College) Aboriginal Girls’ Circle, Aboriginal workers at Dubbo’s Western Plains zoo, and Anglicans from Dubbo and elsewhere. The visitors joined in NAIDOC celebrations with students from Dubbo South High School.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dancers after the
Rose Elu spoke about her life and faith to members of the Dubbo Anglican Church, and some of the group joined in a meeting of a working group of clergy and lay ministers from Bathurst Diocese (of which Dubbo is a part). Gloria notes that the aim of this group is “to research, produce and make information available to the Bishop in Council, Synod, the diocese and beyond, to assist in the better understanding and incorporation of Indigenous Culture within the life of the church.”
Elders from the Bamaga group were able to visit with young Aboriginal boys at Orana Juvenile Justice Centre. The group spoke with the boys, sang and shared their culture and love of Christ. And Gloria reports on how much the boys enjoyed having them there.
Thank you to all ABM supporters who, through the generosity of your donations, enabled this valuable visit to happen.