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kids culture camp chirratta 1987

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26 August 2015

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KIDS CULTURE CAMP CHIRRATTA 1987 SYNOPSIS
The Kid’s Cultural Camp was organised by a group of mothers and grandmothers—Violet Samson, Tootsie Daniel, old Elsie, Nanna Bobby, Pansy Hicks, and Anne Wally—and community workers Martin Duyker and Julie Shepherd. The video of the Camp was made by Frank Rijavec with the help of Glen Toby, Davis Hicks and Bob Hart.

"I remember we told you we want you to come out bush—we take the kids out […] While we had all the kids there, we worked in with Old Uncle Solomon, Rog and my husband. And we had Uncle Snip and Cheedy there, they was teaching the kids how to make a boomerang. And the girls made damper; climbing trees and getting birds; swimming; sit down listen to music; and the girls would do their hair. A lot of young people still talk about that—it was the first time they learned to dance. I think we came through—like a breakthrough you know—first time they learned how to dance properly. Old Uncle Solomon was singing—but really, all of us eh! Violet and all, we made a breakthrough with the culture—the young men dancing. It was a time of joy, people were crying—breakthrough for the old fellas seeing the kids dancing the right way. Something that was new and exciting."  (Tootsie Daniel)

The nurnda (dance) workshops that James Solomon, Roger Solomon and others organised for the children, had rarely been seen since the heydays of their performance in the Old Reserve under the management of jalurra singer Coppin Dale. Their revival at the Kid’s Cultural Camp in the full regalia of body paint, dancing sticks and masks, and especially as they were performed by the children, stirred powerful emotions.

In the evening we played the video shot during the day, not just for the camp—interviews that Glen, Davis and Frank had filmed with the elders, the mothers and the children; images of elders and boys making artefacts; kids hunting along the river and swimming; girls attending to the stews and dampers; and the sometimes very playful and funny nurnda rehearsals in the late afternoon with Old Solomon.

These nightly replays had a powerful effect on leaders in the camp—particularly James Solomon, Ned Cheedy, Allan Jacob, Violet Samson, Roger Solomon, David Daniel, and Tootsie Daniel. They came to understand in a very direct way the power of video to preserve, propagate and enlarge their culture. It was this small film that got Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma leaders behind the larger project that was to become “Exile and The Kingdom”.

 

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