Yorta Yorta elders joined 25 young Aboriginal people in the four day Yorta Yorta Youth Journey late last month, camping on Country through northern Victoria and southern New South Wales.
Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) have hosted the Yorta Yorta Youth Journey for four years now.
Goulburn Broken CMA Indigenous Facilitator Neville Atkinson, who was one of the guides on the journey, says the program is the perfect way to pass on traditional knowledge and demonstrate customs and laws to younger generations.
“Yorta Yorta elders Uncle Colin Walker, Denise Morgan-Bulled, Aunty Ella Anselmi and Merle Miller passed on traditional knowledge and culture and also guided the young Aboriginal people along the way.” Mr Atkinson said. “This is a traditional process, a rite of passage for Aboriginal children to move from childhood into adulthood, learning of their responsibilities to their people and Country.”
“This year’s Yorta Yorta Youth Journey involved young Aboriginal people from Euroa, Wangaratta, Shepparton and Echuca/Moama, and Co-ordinator Khiara Harrison noticed a change in the participants over the duration of the camp; they learned respect for each other, the land, the environment and their elders.”
Mr Atkinson said Cultural Heritage Officer Wade Morgan, from the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, demonstrated how a coolamon (an Aboriginal curved dish) was taken from a river red gum, and Narjic Day Burns and Sissy Cooper From Aboriginal Dreamtime and Stories camped with the group and conducted cultual song and dance activities after dinner at night.
“Aboriginal heritage and research officers held group workshops and talks on language, dance song and weaving.” He said. “On the last night of the journey the young people learnt a Yorta Yorta traditional ceremony from the Yora Yorta elders.”
“It really was a memorable experience for the participants as they hiked and canoed across Country and engaged with Yorta Yorta Elders and Indigenous Parks Vic Rangers along the way.” Mr Atkinson said.
The Yorta Yorta Youth Journey was supported by the Goulburn Broken CMA, Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Parks Victoria with funding from the Australian Government.