Wiran Aboriginal Corporation

By Rosalba Nattero - Melbourne, 25 October 2005

Rosalba Nattero:
Jida, you made a wonderful dance at the Burial Ceremony, what's the meaning of the dance?

Jida Gulpilil:
The dance that we performed represented our totems and this totem was the black cockatoo with the red feather. To give that gift to our Ancestors through dance is something honorable to do.

Native Australian of the Dja Dja Wurrung and Wamba Wamba Communities.
Dance Leader for Wiran Ceremonial Dancers of the Wamba Wamba.

It's also representing who we are and where we're from, that also represents the country and where we buried our Ancestors to continue that for our future generations as well as our dance is obviously important to us because this is a story that we have and this is what we're sharing with the land and its connection through our totems.
This is also as important as keeping the area for our future children to be able to understand the responsibility of protecting our country, our custoums, our belief, our songs , our Ancestrial burial grounds, our other sacred sites that are associated to that.
I work also with our other clans that work all in Victoria, and those associated to those clans culturaly. We work towards educating our young people through the various languages that I associate myself with. I am a dancer, my father taught me this.
I got my cultural people here, connection and community and country, so this is my job, this is who I am, this is what I practice, this is what I share and this is what I do for dance and song telling the language. We are able to do that in many different ways and many different forms with the technologies.
This is what we hope to gain, the understanding of the various governments controlling a lot of the legislation and land that associates to us as people and connected to that country, to open that news, a creative form of understanding so that we can take back our elders today and bury them again and know that that place will be forever kept and protected.

Rosalba Nattero:
What does the Burial Ceremony represented for you?

Jida Gulpilil:
For me its everything, its an honorable thing to do for our own people, for our past, for the futur and in the present. We were able to get over a lot of mixed emotions within ourselves, even personaly, and understand where our culture is going, my role that I do have where that takes me, and my family and my children.
I like to think that its more than just burying our people, but its more than everything else, its our future, its my future, where I'm going to be, where I'm going to be if I have to go away earlier than I think.
I don't want to be forgotten about somewhere in the wrong place, in the wrong time. Its important for us to be acknowledged for who we are and what we represent and where we belong after that forever.

Rosalba Nattero:
I know that you work in a cultural group, what's the principle goal of this group?

Jida Gulpilil:
Well, our principle goals, no matter who I'm working with, are focusing at the time, whether it be with my family or my community, on our principle and main goal and objective that is to share in the sharing of our culture through understanding so that people can educate themselves about who we are and what this country is, what their culture is really.
Culture these days can be defined in anything from surfing to mountain bike, riding or culture in the local pub.
But people want to know what the true history is and what our culture is and who we are and what we do and represent and so that's something we're all pulling together towards to try and understand.

Rosalba Nattero:
We met at the Melba Hall. We played music together and we were very surprised about the feeling that its created between us. You played the didgeridoo and we played Keltic music; but what do you think about that? We come from similar traditions, what do you think about that?

Jida Gulpilil:
I think its amazing, I think we have a lot to show to the world.
We are Indigenous People of our country and that within itself brings a lot of things to share and to understand, even though we were taken away, our children were taken away, our stolen generations and our culture; but we revived that in many different ways.
We joined with other people of the world and strenghtened the spirit of the world and that's what we can do, you know.
A lot of people would like to be a part of that spirit and seek many different ways of how to do that. We just have to create many oppourtunities for them so they can join and be a part of that music, song or dance or painting or story.