Last month, the Invast Global team had the privilege of attending an offsite immersion event on the South Coast of NSW, hosted by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council.
The cultural campfire immersion was facilitated by Brad Cooke from Campfire x and was led by Leon Brown of the Walbunja people and owner of surf wear label, OZIE PIPE Dreaming. Held over two days, the Invast Global team learnt first hand from the local elders about country, culture and community and the difficulties facing First Nations peoples.
A Smoking Ceremony, led by Matt Simms of the Wandi Wandandian people, was held to connect, acknowledge and pay respect to Mother Earth, past ancestors and to introduce the local people. It was a moving welcome to us visitors to their country. It was also protective, asking spirit to watch over us and keep us safe in our journey across country. This was followed by a demonstration and explanation of the powerful creation dances of the emu, goanna, kangaroo and echidna. The team were invited to partake in performing these dances with the talented local children from Vincentia High School.
After listening to stories from Elders, Aunty Wendy and Aunty Rhonda about the strong relationship to the land and their traditions and history, a delicious lunch of local seafood was cooked by Leon over the open fire and we ate sitting around an ancient ceremonial clearing, gazing at the outstanding scenery of the Shoalhaven and the imposing ring of the escarpment cliffs surrounding it all. Unchanged for millenia.
The team were then guided along a bush track to a beach site that the traditional owners have been fishing and feasting at for generations, evident by the middens which spanned the coastline. Gavin White, the CEO commented, “It was amazing to see these three-metre-high walls that, when you looked closely were actually layers and layers of abalone shell, fish bones and crustacean shells. These middens have built up over thousands of years. One of the purposes of storing the shells from feasts in the one mound is that they acted as signposts for passing Aboriginal people to know what food sources were available in the area. Ingeniously, it also allowed passers-by to see what and how much has recently been taken from the sea – to ensure long term sustainability.”
Invast Global are committed to learning from and listening to First Nations communities. Many of our team have lived around Jervis Bay which made it particularly meaningful for them to learn more about this special country.
Invast Global has partnered with Campfire x to ensure we build a company culture that genuinely recognises and respects the traditional owners of the land on which we live, raise our families and work.