CULTURAL WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users are warned that this material may contain images and voices of deceased persons and images of places that could cause sorrow.
Excerpt from Baranjuk Musk Duck: The Wally Cooper story
Writer/director Richard Frankland
Produced by Golden Seahorse Productions
Sponsored by The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission
not for downloadCopyright
Koorie Heritage Trust
Uncle Wally Cooper, Yorta Yorta Elder, shows and tells about Dance.
This is part of our traditional ochre colours, white ochre that we gather from around the area up here and we’re painting it on the boys with a brush because its just the same as what we’re doing. This is their markings, this is Jessie and Kevin’s original markings for their dancing and these are the markings they use all the time. ‘Cos this is the markings of the young boys, of the people, young boys learning their art and this is the way we paint them up. An’ we paint them up like this an’ the reason for the bands around here and then we put the lines down here like this, is the part of the Emu. There we go. And the feathers on the belt here represent our flight in to our traditional ancestral. That’s why we put feathers on them because they look like, the feathers represent the animal, the white feathers are the spirit, the yellow feathers are the sun, means the life, and the Emu , also got the Emu feathers on there. The yellow ones is the life of the sun, and the white is… the white spirit. An’ that’s why we paint em up like that and put them on there like that where they represent the spirit when their dancing. OK? Now do you want to have a look … to sit down on your rug over there? Sit down on your rug. This is part of it, this is another part of Jess’s, of his dress. Come here Jess and just put this on here. Look how we look on him here. Put him on here and turn him around that way, give us a look at yer. There you go and you can hang on to that there. We can sit you down just over there for a minute and you’re looking good there.
Turn him round there…you turn round for that…that’s the boy. I’ll put the head bands an’ put our feathers on. Now we’re putting…we’re going to put our tapes of feathers on our legs. We’re going to get those ones over there. So get those lines down there. There we are up the Barmah Lake and we’re going to practice some of our traditional dance and it’s pretty important to us what we’re doing here today ‘cause we got to be here…this is our land we’re on our land and we’re up here to do our traditional dancing. So the boys are going to dance the Emu dance for us here to day and they’re going to be going the Kangaroo dance, the Magic Boomerang and Sonny will be doing one of his own traditional dances here today. Now something is very important for us to be dancing on our soil, this is Cumeragunja, this is Yorta Yorta country and this’s where we’re going to do our traditional dancing. So the boys will be starting off with the Emu dance. Now the Emu dance is one of our very traditional dances and we start off with the Emu and we start to go …(?)
It shows the young fellows, it shows the young lads, how we go out, track down the Emu, how we actually find them and eventually slaying them and the bringing em back to camp and dividing em’ up with family. Now the boys that are walking round here, this is how the young people were taught their traditional dancing. They were taught how to, the elders would be out dancing with them, they’ll be just sitting down probably on a bank of the river or the Lake, as we’re doing it here today, and they’ll be just sitting down there and watching and that’s how they learn is by watching. An’ that how I learned, is by watching an’ getting up and having a go and by teaching and this is part of what we do is we teach the young people and we teach em’ how to find the animal, how become the animal, how to catch the animal and how to gather the food. This is how we basically of how we do it do it for food gathering, for our traditional way of life, for gathering our food and for being part of that.
Right Kangaroo…Paul…Kangaroo. That’s it, nice and steady, that’s the way, that’s the way, good one there you go that’s the way, good one. These are other parts of doing our dancing and finding out how we get it together and how we get close to the animals and that’s why we do our dancing like that, to get close, to come close to the animals, to eventually spear them, to bring em’ home for food. But that’s why we teach the dancing, the dancing is very important of knowing how to survive, how to gather your food, how to become close to the animal, to be part of that animal. That’s the way…That’ll do.
The dance that you are looking at now, what we’re doing, is called the Magic Boomerang It shows how the hunter or the dancer puts the magic into the boomerang to make it fly and it has to come back not as, just as a killer boomerang, as a returning boomerang and to put the magic in it. The first boomerang to ever fly was called the Magic Boomerang and this dance shows you of how they put the magic in the boomerang to make it come back. …………..(?)