Uncle Frank’s storytelling captivated Anthony. As he listened, his eyes and heart were opening. He had never heard these Aboriginal stories before. “I found myself compelled to listen; to quieten my own responses and let their story breathe in the air between us,” he shared.
Anthony is the Minister of Aldgate Church of Christ, South Australia. He participated in the Kaurna Yarta tour with Uncle Frank Wanganeen and Brooke Prentis. His expectations were open to what it might be like. Having limited exposure to Indigenous cultures, Anthony realised during the tour that he wanted to “lessen the distance” and learn more.
Indigenous Ministries Australia (IMA) facilitates cultural learning tours, gatherings, and retreats. Providing opportunities for small groups to learn about Indigenous perspectives and culture in their local area. Participants can visit sites that are important to First Nations people. As well as understand the five key aspects of Aboriginal culture – the land, family, law, language and ceremony.
Tours help promote a deeper connection to the Indigenous community. “Participating in the tour was a unique experience to develop an awareness and appreciation for Indigenous people and their stories,” Anthony shared. “We are front and centre of our story… What we have missed is that others are front and centre of their story too.”
Tours are also running in Melbourne, Victoria. One participant in the Songlines tour said she experienced stronger compassion to love her neighbour. Phillipa said, “I found the balance of information and contemplation good.” Carly told us, “I really enjoyed learning more about all of the forces affecting Indigenous Australians.”
IMA provides other learning experiences, like the Dhiiyaan On-Country Retreat. Groups can immerse themselves for three days in the stories and activities within an Indigenous community. Take part in Welcome to Country ceremonies and cultural awareness teaching sessions. Individuals can also contribute to animal and plant care at the property.Reconciliation in Australia requires coming together ‘around the fire’. Experiences like the Kaurna Yarta tour, Songlines tour and the Dhiiyaan On-Country Retreat encourage this. Listening and learning between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians builds unity.
Anthony is now seeking what authentic steps he can take next. “We can walk these lands together, humbly, respectfully, lightly, with justice and grace,” he said.
When you buy the Great Gift of a Campfire Gathering, you will give a gift with purpose. Providing opportunities for our Indigenous partners to share their culture with non-Indigenous Australians. To facilitate a space for everyone to stop and listen, to learn and connect.