We are two weeks into our Kinship regional tour of Victoria and Tasmania. On our very first day we were welcomed onto Wathaurong land by the community on the Bellarine Peninsula, Geelong. Acknowledgement by the local mob brings a sense of unity and purpose to our performances and to touring itself. We are more than a dance company, we are a thread of Indigenous people from all across the country, and it is important to recognise where we are and also bring something of ourselves to the communities where we visit. The Wathaurong people are part of the great Kulin Nation, which spans Melbourne, its outer regions and central Victorian districts. The Kulin Nation are protected by their creator, Bunjil the eagle. Bunjil is the God figure of the all the tribes within the Kulin Nation, he is the protector and came to the people in the eagle form. Throughout this tour we spend a great deal of time in Bunjil’s territory. We recently performed in Dandenong, the traditional land of the Wurundjeri, also a tribe of the great Kulin Nation. I myself grew up in Frankston, outer Melbourne, traditional land of the Boon Wurrung people, and I feel like my own childhood and life there by the bay was protected and looked over by the spirit of Bunjil. We will be touring there this a week, and then returning to Wurundjeri land when we perform in Nunawading. Our performances have been successful so far on this regional tour, and I thank the spirit of Bunjil for watching over us as we perform throughout his country, and in addition I thank him for watching over me throughout all my life, up until the point where I left to follow my love of dance in Sydney.
Image: Kathy Balngayngu Marika, Yolande Brown, Leonard Mickelo & Deborah Brown in Brolga from Kinship 2013, photo by Greg Barrett.