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Byron Shire
January 28, 2022

Spirited speech kicks off festival

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A smoking ceremony was part of this year’s Spirit Festival. Photo Jeff Dawson

A powerful culture appropriation speech kicked off this year’s Spirit Fest, ushering in a new paradigm in social awareness over the exploitation of traditional cultures for commercial gain.

On Friday, local Arakwal representative Delta Kay gave a Welcome to Country at the Cavanbah Centre, and told the audience, ‘It is time to take a stand with native nations across the globe to move beyond colonialism.’

‘The colonisation of native peoples globally has incited the endless theft of our mother lands, resources, the assimilation of native communities, our way of life, culture and more recently, the theft of native traditions.

‘It is time to reclaim and protect our cultural heritage, to protect and preserve our ancestral lands, sacred sites and unite our community. This must be done by “us” the native people, we have the wisdom and teachings in us from our elders and ancestors to enforce our lore, L.O.R.E, to protect our culture, country and community.

‘Non-native people, you are our supporters, you have the important role of allowing native people a platform to practise and protect the integrity of our culture against cultural appropriation.

Education, awareness

‘I, Delta Kay, stand alongside elders from across the world to bring an end to appropriation of native cultures.

‘I support and encourage the education and awareness required to help those who still feel that another person’s culture is a viable way to gain attention and wealth.

‘Since reading The Proclamation on the Protection of Ceremonies by Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe, the teachings of my mother, Linda Kay Vidler of the Arakwal Bumberbin Clan has inspired me to speak out and stand with native elders local and globally to decolonise.’

Kay ended with, ‘I call on each and every one of you to stand with us to move beyond the appropriation paradigm, decolonise your minds, to embrace your own ancestry and heritage, listen to your innate wisdom and knowledge so we can unite with honour, respect, peace and love.’

The full speech is available at www.cultureaware.org.


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