Traditional Owners invite all to share in Muatawintji celebration

Wiimpatja owners of the Mutawintji National Park will be hosting a two-day celebration of Aboriginal culture next weekend including dance, music, food, art making and coming together.

The inaugural Mutawintji Cultural Festival will reinvigorate the country as a space of celebration and sharing of culture, stories, and community.

Chair of Mutawintji Board of Management, Warlpa Thompson said that the Mutawintji country would have traditionally been used for large celebrations and bringing people together, from across the region in big numbers over a short period.

“We have had a couple of big celebrations since the park was returned to Aboriginal owners, but they have been one off events and generally over a long period of time.”

“This is about bringing everyone together coming out onto country for positive reasons and sharing that with visitors to the park as well as other Aboriginal people around the country,” said Mr Thompson.

“Our mob come together for funerals quite often, it will be good to bring us all together for a celebration and positive reason.”

“It is about coming together to sing up country and for us as Wiimpatja, to share our country with other people and showcase what we got to offer in the Far West.”

The festival will offer an all-encompassing experience of cooking, music, and dance with local bands, The Black Shadows, Leroy Johnson, and Nancy Bates performing.

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“The Friday night we will cook kangaroo, emu and vegetables in the ground and cook it in a traditional way,” said Mr Thompson

“We will also give people a chance to make their own Johnny cakes, we will have a couple of old experts that know how to mix the dough up, they will give you a chunk of dough and we will also have lemongrass tea and emu bush tea for people that want to try it.”

Tours led by local knowledge holders will operate through the day, showcasing some of the sacred areas with local painted and pecked art. Aboriginal owners will also be running some workshops including painting, weaving, artefact making and lessons in boomerang and spear throwing.

“We will have some fires around the place, it also gives us a nice big flat dancing area,” said Mr Thompson.

“If people want to get up and shake a leg when we are doing the dance part, there is enough space for a few hundred people.”

Mr Thompson said that an old ground tank in Mutawintji has been repurposed to make an amphitheatre hopefully and shelter from any wind on the day.

“The place traditionally would have been used for large celebrations and bringing people together.

“We need to get out on country for positive reasons and in big groups”

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“We thought this might be an opportunity to do some more of that.”

Mutawintji Cultural Festival runs from Friday 8 July to Saturday 9 July 2022, 10am to 9pm each day.

The festival is free for traditional custodians, non-Aboriginal visitors are invited to purchase a ticket through the website: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au

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