Bunuru Festival's cultural celebration moves to coast

The Undalup Association has announced that the 2020 Bunuru Festival will move to Riflebutts Reserve in Prevelly.

The group also announced this week a successful application for a Healthway grant to assist in promoting the festival's Act-Belong-Commit message, with the objective being to support positive mental health outcomes for Indigenous community members in the South West.

A spokesperson said the association would use the grant to further promote culture and traditions of the Wadandi peoples and to encourage respect for country.

"The festival will follow on from a recent successful initiative by Undalup, being an Aboriginal Surf Academy Program and a previous festival hosted in 2018.

"Activities and entertainment will promote family fun and encourage community and family connectivity, underpinning the Act-Belong-Commit message from Mental Health WA."

The period of February to March is known in the Aboriginal Wadandi seasonal calendar as Bunuru - the hottest of the six seasons, the fruiting season, and is often called the 'second summer'.

"Australian Indigenous culture has connected through dance, music, art and food for over 80 000 years," said the spokesperson.

"A festival such as this allows local Aboriginal peoples to continue their traditions of connecting to cultural on country, as well as creating opportunities for the broader community to engage with Australian traditional culture.

"It also creates opportunities for the broader community to participate in the longest continuing culture on the planet."

Indigenous peoples from around Western Australia will be attending to represent their community and connect with the local elders, continuing cultural knowledge-sharing and traditions.

The Undalup Association aims to promote positive socioculture and psychosocial outcomes for Indigenous peoples through events, festivals and activities in an effort to close the gap.

"Sharing cultural knowledge and creating a culturally inclusive environment across the broader community can aid in removing social stigmas and culture bias which can promote positive self-worth and positive mental health outcomes, as well as encourage healthy lifestyle pathways for local Aboriginal community members.

"This is achievable for Indigenous peoples when a more inclusive society is cultivated and this can be achieved through that cultural knowledge sharing."

The festival will be a smoke and alcohol free event and will include cultural dancing and music with Aboriginal youth and cultural custodian mentors, a cultural activities marquee featuring clapping sticks, wooden boomerangs and native animals to decorate, and an art canvas to complete and take home.

Bee Hotel and weaving workshops will also be available for children and parents, as well as contemporary hip hop dancing workshops and performances, Aboriginal entertainers and dancers, and market stalls and healthy food options.

Undalup's Rachelle Cousins said the group was particularly excited with the new location. "This is just such a beautiful community space, right here by the beach, and it gives families a great excuse to bring their bathers, have a swim, spend the day surrounded by our wonderful culture.

"We're looking forward to seeing the festival take shape, there will be something for everyone with a huge range of entertainment, cultural experiences, art and opportunities for further education and connection."