PROUD IDENTITY: Sharman Parsons with father David Parsons at the Bunya Festival stall during Jumpers and Jazz.
PROUD IDENTITY: Sharman Parsons with father David Parsons at the Bunya Festival stall during Jumpers and Jazz. Benjamin Wilmott

Help celebrate Aboriginal heritage

CELEBRATION and recognition of indigenous culture and heritage is at the heart of the Southern Downs Bunya Festival.

Event co-ordinator David Parsons will host the festival at his family property at North Branch Maryvale on March 18.

He said it was important for Aboriginal communities to embrace their identity but non-indigenous people were welcome to come and learn more at the festival.

"The event is based off a festival held in the Bunya Mountains and it involves the Waringh Waringh Aboriginal people and their families around Warwick in conjunction with our business, Cicada Woman,” Mr Parsons said.

"I think we're discovering by our own Inquiries that Aboriginal traditional societies were much more sophisticated than we previously though.

"But kids still grow up thinking it's uncool to be Aboriginal and tend to withdraw because of that aspect of their identity, so this is really a celebration of Aboriginal culture.”

Mr Parsons said there were plenty of activities planned for the festival which will run from midday and into the evening, including craft stalls and performances by Aboriginal musicians.

"One of the things we do on our property is, because we don't graze on most of it, we use the walk along the creek to take people and show them plants that had values for food or medicine and that sort of thing,” he said.

"For a while now we've had a stall at Jumpers and Jazz where we sell foods using traditional ingredients like the bunya nut, but with a modern twist, and we'll have that at the festival as well.

"We're having some of the elders do the traditional welcoming ceremony, and then my daughter Sharman will also do more of a spiritual welcoming down by the creek.

"We'll have an array of short films played under the stars through the evening that are either made by Aboriginal people or portray different aspect of Aboriginal life and celebrate identity.

"We'll also have local artists bring their work along and they've all done their art with a story behind it that represents their Aboriginal identity in some way.”

Mr Parsons said he hoped the festival could help to improve education surrounding indigenous traditions and race relations.

"The whole idea is to present a positive but realistic picture of Aboriginal people's cultures,” he said.

"We see it as positive that Aboriginal people can celebrate their heritage and I also think it's important that the rest of the white European population has an opportunity to learn about this stuff.”

Head out to Githabul country on March 18 for the Bunya Festival from 1-8pm, at 49 Mailmans Rd.

Entry is $10 for adults, $5 for high school students and free for kids 12 and under. All proceeds at the gate go to Waringh Waringh (Warwick Community Development Group).

To RSVP, phone 46661187 or 0456489655 or for more information, find the Waringh Waringh Bunya Festival on Facebook.



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