During the Easter holidays, The Budjiti Cultural Camp saw 20 Budjiti people travel to the beautiful Naree station, 150kms NW of Bourke, NSW. Attendees were looking forward to getting out on Country, and some travelled from eastern NSW.
The camp started with a welcome to Country by Elder Phillip Eulo, followed by some ground rules to abide by when on Country.
The morning sunrises were absolutely astounding and welcomed by morning walks around the property, checking out the tracks left by wildlife overnight.
We visited some beautiful places whilst on Naree. At the Muckerjoo waterhole, we caught some booglies (yabbies) and made booglie curry. We also made it to Muckerjoo Waterhole, Coolibah Swamp and Yantabulla Station.
When on country it's important to always be looking where you're walking, looking out for artefacts, checking on the health of our plants, medicine bushes, waterways and animals. We need to make sure country is healthy…
Halfway through the cultural camp we took the trip up to Currawinya National Park - this is the heart of Budjiti Country. We visited lake Numalla (fresh water), and Lake Wyara (salt lake). Some of the mob took the opportunity to visit the Paroo River and the Caiwarra Ruins.
The camp was an invaluable opportunity to connect with Country and build community.
Budjiti family members were also fortunate to go down to Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) last December, to obtain much needed information on Budjiti language. The AIATSIS visit was over two days and the information gathered was extensive. Budjiti family members found language recordings from family members that have passed.
Phillip's grandmother saying words in language and his great great uncle – singing in language brought tears to everyone’s eyes.
Language is the very being of our identity and we're very grateful to have found these recordings so we can work towards reviving our language, sharing it with the Budjiti mob, Australians and in the future be able to speak it fluently.
The grannies also loved seeing AIATSIS building and what it represented to our people. It holds a magnificent amount of artefacts as well as art. To be within a place that holds so much of our people's history was overwhelming and exciting at the same time. We learnt so much from this experience and so did our children.
Both the camp and our trip to Canberra marked a great step forward in reviving the langauge of our Country and further connecting with our culture.
This project has been supported by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust.