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Mon. May 27th, 2024

The Nēwara Aboriginal Corporation want to say Dhanggana (Hello) and invite the local community to join with them in learning and celebrating Anaiwan language and dance.

The Nēwara Aboriginal Corporation’s mission is to reclaim Anaiwan culture, history and language and this new class will sit alongside the other language classes and resources they already offer. Held every Sunday afternoon from 4pm to 6pm these new classes promise the chance to learn something new and connect with local culture.

Sharnae Smith is one of the teachers involved in the classes

“Our Anaiwan Song & Dance workshops are about reviving Anaiwan language that has been asleep for many years.”

“We started running these workshops 4 weeks ago and our classes have started growing already which is such a good feeling!”

Ms Smith is running these classes alongside a broader body of work she has undertaken with Callum Clayton-Dixon. Mr Clayton-Dixon is recognised in the community for his work at UNE in the field of linguistics and his extensive work with the local Anaiwan community. He has also published a book, Surviving New England, which outlines Aboriginal history through the first forty years of colonisation in the New England Region.

Ms Smith and Mr Clayton-Dixon have together created two of their first Anaiwan language songs, “Welcome to the Cold Country” and “Rain Dance”, to which Ms Smith has the created dances to be performed alongside.

“I have had the opportunity to create both the ‘Welcome to the Cold Country’ dance and ‘Rain Dance’ which is very huge knowing that these dances are going to be here forever,” Ms Smith said.

“Our goals are to teach the community language, songs & dances as much as we can and for as long as we can.”

The Nēwara Aboriginal Corporation have already made huge inroads into only re-establishing the use of language. They also recently held an immensely successful crowd funding exercise that allowed them to purchase a large piece of land in the high country for the explicit purpose of reconnecting to the land and their culture.

Ms Smith tells us that these Song and Dance workshops form yet another vital piece of the puzzle of regaining culture for local Aboriginal people. Each class will incorporate 1 hour of language classes and 1 hour of dancing. The classes are open to all, not just Anaiwan people, but for the whole community both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal.

For more information about the classes, and the other work that Nēwara Aboriginal Corporation are currently undertaking, visit their Facebook page or website.

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