Mar 27, 2024 | News, Newsletters

Kim Spriggs is working desperately to sustain her culture. She wants her own people to know about their culture and she wants non-Indigenous people to appreciate her history and let go of fears and suspicions about Aboriginal people. One important step was the Warrabinga Sustainability Expo in Mudgee NSW last year. It showcased many aspects of Indigenous culture and left people with a hunger for more, especially the bush tucker Kim served.

The expo, run by the Warrabinga Native Title Claimants Aboriginal Corporation with support from Highways and Byways, brought different cultures together in a shared aim – to understand more about Indigenous practices and history.

“We want people to better understand who we are. Lots of people just think Aboriginal organisations are about grabbing land, but that’s not true. We want to protect the land for future generations,” Kim said. “There are a lot of old cultural practices that continue today.”

One practice that is still used is the cutting of a Coolamon from a tree. Coolamons are used to hold babies and food, and in ceremonies. The Coolamon making workshop, which was one of the many events at the expo, was a sell-out. There was also art, tool making, weaving, and possum skin cloak workshops as well as language and dance demonstrations.

A focus of the expo was sustainable land management practices that organisers hope will be adopted more broadly.

Kim’s cooking was a highlight of the event, and she had trouble keeping up the kangaroo pies, emu sausage rolls and crocodile dumplings to people who travelled from as far away as Sydney to attend the expo.

The expo’s success has inspired the organisers to plan a Cultural Sustainability Expo in Lithgow later this year. As well, the group has been invited to run a similar program as part of the Mudgee Field Day and locals are talking about the possibility of a regular yarning circle in the town and having the possum skin cloaks on display to create further awareness of the area’s rich history.

Kim said the highlight of the day was seeing Indigenous and non-Indigenous people enjoying the same things together, “no one thinking they were more important than the other”.

Image main: A possum skin cloak workshop led by Aunty Di Pirotta was a popular part of the Expo.

Image insert top: The Expo attracted people of all ages, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

Image insert bottom: An weaving workshop formed part of the event.  



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