MAKING emu feather skirts and traditional head dress kept little fingers busy over the school holidays when University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Fraser Coast and Koorawinga Vacation Care partnered to run workshops at Scrub Hill, Hervey Bay.
USQ’s Indigenous Development Co-ordinator Linda Wondunna-Foley said the Emu Dreaming Workshops were aimed at encouraging young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to believe in themselves and their dreams.
“When Butchulla Elder Auntie Irene McBride approached USQ to support a holiday program that combined the sharing of traditional cultural knowledge with motivational activities, USQ was keen to be involved.”
USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer said research indicates that children develop attitudes toward education and careers at an early age.
“Being involved in school holiday cultural activities is a good opportunity for USQ to help children develop positive attitudes and aspirations.”
Ms Wondunna-Foley and co-facilitators Sally Cripps and Vicky Scott helped the children make traditional emu feather skirts and head dresses over the two weeks.
“It was as motivating for the facilitators to engage with the young leaders as it was for the participants.”
Ms Wondunna-Foley also shared women’s business knowledge from her grandmother’s Wathaurong country at Geelong/Barwon Heads, Victoria, where she learnt to make emu feather skirts as a child.
“The children exchanged cultural knowledge and language in return and were very proud of their achievements when they completed their traditional ceremonial gear.
“Auntie Irene, who has completed a Master of Education at USQ, reiterated the importance of engaging with children in mid to late primary school to encourage them to enjoy and embrace learning through all stages of their lives.
“It was great to exchange Butchulla and Wathaurong traditions in the spirit of education.”
Photo: Showing their emu feather skirts are (back l-r) Kylyra Schiemer, Abina Page and Hannah Wondunna-Foley; (front) Kyrani Flanagan-Togo, Tulara Wondunna-Foley, Narmi Page, Torquasia Togo, Jedda Page and Diamond Rainbow.