On Sunday at noon the ground shook under the feet of thousands of Indigenous people who united in dance for rain and healing, Australia-wide. In Forbes a crowd of approximately 50 people gathered at the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre by Lake Forbes to support the dance and ceremony. Wiradjuri man Yarangirri Holmes was there to lead local Indigenous children in dance while elder and Director Aileen Allen carried out a private women’s ceremony with local Indigenous women.
Wiradjuri elder Aileen Allen explained how the collective stamping of feet is an ancient and deeply spiritual form of dance. The aim of the dance on Sunday was to “bring back the rains, to please mother Earth and to wake her up by bringing up the dust.” Thankfully mother nature listened, and the skies opened soon after, serving Forbes with 4.8mm of rain overnight.
The First Nations dance was the first coordinated nation-wide dance of its kind. Dance coordinators Gooreng Gooreng and Alwyn Doolan encouraged the live streaming of each ancestral dance online. Alwyn Doolan is known for walking more than 8,000km from Cape York to Canberra with detours through Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales. The purpose of the walk was to carry a message of reconciliation to parliament that he had collected from 50 Indigenous nations.
With such success nation-wide, some have called for the dance to be held annually. Yarangirri Holmes of The River Spirit Cultural Arts supported the call saying, “It would be great to see events like this continue to take place. We had a great turnout with people travelling from as far as Orange and Narromine to be part of the dance and that’s what it is all about. Coming together, connecting and healing.” The Wiradjuri dancers in Forbes joined more than 100 nations who took part in the event on Sunday.