This blog is written by Sarah Reed. It comes from her personal blog “Sarah Reed Down Under“. Sarah is a Fall 2018 student from Messiah College. Editor’s note: This post was first published on the 13th of August, 2018 and has been lightly edited.
A few weekends ago my classmates and I traveled across Moreton Bay to Stradbroke Island for a weekend with our Indigenous worldviews class. The ferry ride was short yet relaxing and upon arrival we were welcomed with a smoking ceremony to cleanse ourselves.
The morning continued with our ears being filled with stories about local customs of the Indigenous people of the area. This was followed by dancing, boomerang and spear throwing! Which was really fun!
See videos of my boomerang throwing and spear throwing activities.
The day finished with a brisk Gorge walk. The scenic trail snaked around cliffs and we were fortunate enough to see whales jumping out of the ocean, sea turtles and other wildlife.
The next day, we worked with artist Craig to create sand art on the beach. Each design unique in their expression!
This was followed by a time of worship at Brown Lake (a historical site where local Indigenous women would bring with their children).
Now I know this sounds like a nice weekend getaway, but it was much more than that. Before coming to Australia, I thought Indigenous people were just an ancient group of people that used to live in Australia, little did I know that I was very wrong. The weekend showed me, this ancient culture is still every much alive! The elders of the community, shared with us the importance of country and showed us ways to utilize plants and the things on the island. We were invited onto sacred grounds which were had been frequented by their ancestors. They also shared with us stories of hardships faced by Aboriginal people today.
Over the weekend, not only did I experience Aboriginal culture and history. I also learnt how an Aboriginal person can be both Christian and still hold on to their cultural values. I have never experienced anything like this and I will forever hold onto the memories I made this weekend.