SHACtivism at its best. The youth are motivated to join together and Strike from School Friday 30th November. They can see and feel the planet is in Crisis . They are demanding the politicians act now to reduce the harm, to stop the greedy fossil fuel industry from destroying the planet and implement more renewable energy’s. For a more sustainable future for all.
n the SHAC courtyard, Ken and I started building the fire in our fire pit at about 4.30pm on the day our smoking ceremony was at last to take place here. I had been collecting sticks and discarded branches for ages. Ancient wood cut in the local area and left on the verge, waste for some but a gift to me. Sometimes, I feel very sad for the trees that man chooses to cut down. So I honour this gift from the earth today, using each branch and cluster of twigs to build the foundations of a good fire for the smoking ceremony tonight.
I put the fire drum on a spot on the grass so we can use the wall as seating. The cane chairs and Fiona’s benches staggered in a circle to seat residents, members, friends and pets, who are all gathering for the opportunity to have a community clearing, to be engulfed in thick, plumes of smoke.
We had invited Traditional Custodian Uncle Joe Northover to conduct the smoking ceremony, with sister artist Marcel Riley and brother Howard Riley. We asked to clear the old and make way for the next stages of our SHAC community’s development. And most importantly, to honour the first peoples and this land.
It was very windy, most of us had hoodies and jumpers on. Uncle Joe spoke in Wadjuk Noongar language with spirit and in English. He talked of family, community and connection. He sensed there had been negativity and some people feeling bad in the circle.
With handfuls gathered of the long slender peppermint tree, Agonis Flexuosa, we rubbed it’s soft leaves under our arm pits, as instructed by Uncle Joe. Then we offered them to the fire, burning and smoking the leaves on the logs and coals.
Now is the time to let it go, he said, let the problems get carried away with the smoke.Allow the smoke to cleanse and revitalise you. And to clear the way ahead, working and living together as a community. The Aboriginal people believe this to be the way and it felt very important to allow ourselves to share this together.
When the sun was setting Uncle Joe sang in language, and a flock of Nularks the white tailed Black cockatoos flew across the sky. Witnessing their flight and cries, together with song, made a tear roll down my face as I shared this moment, connecting with the land and place, past, present and future.
Afterwards, Rachel thanked and acknowledged Uncle Joe and family on Shac’s behalf. Then we shared a big feed, with a SHAC community feast. Sitting round yarning, I look around at all the glowing faces open to our new beginning, respecting the Aboriginal people who lived on this land for thousands of years before now.
I am blessed and grateful for living in this co-operative. Thank you to all who shared in this part of our journey here in this space SHAC. Thank you too, Rachel Riggs for initiating and co-ordinating the smoking and gracing us with the beautiful flower wreaths from the Peppermint tree to welcome us.
SHACC acknowledges the Noongar people as the traditional custodians of the Whadjuk region, on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and honour all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the first people of this nation. SHACC is committed to a positive future for our Aboriginal community.
Always was. Always will be Aboriginal land.
The Song Room Deadly Arts Teaching Artists meeting
The Song Room, a national organisation putting artists into schools, hosted an Indigenous Teaching Artists meeting last Saturday. The Song Room is intending to collaborate with SHAC regularly as a community partner.
Elisa Williams, regional arts project manager created the new Deadly Arts programme to share Aboriginal arts and culture in schools with local leading artists including doll maker/basket weaver Marcelle Riley, and visual artist/illustrator Seantelle Hughes.
The Song Room’s Western Australian team is working with SHAC as a supportive venue to host a range of our creative practices in future planning. They intend to use the venue to hold professional development workshops with local Indigenous artists to deliver our Deadly Arts programs in schools around Perth.
The Song Room find the Co Labs 1 & 2 ideal for our work and programmes, plus the support from the artist community is an extra bonus! The Song Room is proud of its developing relationship with SHAC.
The Song Room creative arts digital learning platform www.artslive.com
The Song Room Deadly Arts - Community Liason Officer/Teaching Artist