Nation Dance Begins a Cultural Healing Process

On 1 December, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia united for a significant cultural ceremony in response to the bushfire and drought conditions.

This nationwide event was conceptualised by Gooreng Gooreng and Wakka Wakka man Alwyn Doolan, known for The Message Stick Walk. Alwyn walked from Cape York in Queensland arriving at Parliament House in Canberra in May 2019 collecting messages of reconciliation from 50 nations on the way.

His call to come together in dance saw performances at multiple locations throughout our region and included representation from all seven North Coast nations.

Marni Tuala, North Coast Primary Health Network’s Deputy Director of Aboriginal Health, said, “This event provided a powerful platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia to unite in our pride for our culture, the oldest living culture in the world.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have responded to the recent fires and drought from a place of healing, coming together and uniting in culture with hope to bring healing to the land.

“Nation Dance enabled us to demonstrate to the broader society that as a people we are strong and resilient, and our culture continues to thrive. This is an insight into our perspective of health and wellbeing and our cultural obligation to our mother, the land.

“To heal as a people, we must first heal our country.”

Culture is central to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people, which has been highlighted in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013 – 2023.