SOLO ACT: Araya Hammond will perform during NAIDOC Week celebrations in Brisbane this Friday.
SOLO ACT: Araya Hammond will perform during NAIDOC Week celebrations in Brisbane this Friday. Caitlin Zerafa

Araya connects with her culture through dance

THIS week marks NAIDOC Week and one Tewantin girl will connect with her indigenous heritage in Brisbane this Friday.

Araya Hammond, 14, has been invited to perform her solo dance piece at the NAIDOC Week Family Fun Day at Musgrave Park.

"I'm really excited,” Araya said.

"I feel honoured to pass on my culture through dance.”

Araya's dance is about connecting to her culture and showing the struggles and emotion of the intergenerational journey.

Mother Judy Hammond was proud.

"She choreographed a lot of the dance herself with Sidney Saltner from Bangarra (Dance Theatre) and Jeanette Dal Santo from WINDO,” Ms Hammond said.

Araya said: "I got to use my creative side and had never done cultural dancing before.”

Araya's dream is to dance with Bangarra Dance Theatre and she recently returned from its Rekindling youth program in Charleville.

"It was amazing, I got to share culture with my mob and I made new friends,” Araya said.

She spent a week with 15 other indigenous youth on traditional Bidjara land.

Ms Hammond said: "The Rekindling is to keep kids proud of their culture and encourage them to engage in positive culture.

"It has really given her a better understanding of our culture and she has a stronger connection with herself.”

Part of the week was a special dance performance of giving back of land to the traditional Bidjara owners.

Araya said: "We danced for that and performed on the dirt.

"You feel so connected to the land.”

The Hammonds wanted to acknowledge and respect all past and present people, elders, ancestors, land, language and culture, and to thank Cindy Vogels who made Araya's costume.


Lost Jewel a treat for kids

Lost Jewel a treat for kids

See an original musical featuring the regions best young talent

Olympic expert to aid our 'chappies'

Olympic expert to aid our 'chappies'

Learn Olympic history and help school chaplains at the same time

Finding sites for too-hard sports

Finding sites for too-hard sports

A draft plan for difficult-to-locate sports is up for public comment

Local Partners