Winter solstice ‘Sorry Water’ event at Mokidup-Ellensbrook House on Sunday, June 23

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Vivian Brockman Webb will lead the Sorry Water event at Ellensbrook Homestead-Mokidup on Sunday.
Camera IconVivian Brockman Webb will lead the Sorry Water event at Ellensbrook Homestead-Mokidup on Sunday. Credit: Martine Perret

Residents are invited to a traditional Indigenous gathering at Ellensbrook Homestead-Mokidup this weekend.

It has been two years since Wadandi matriarchs held their Sorry Water event designed as a way for residents to get involved in the local culture and pay their respects to the region’s history — and commemorate the winter solstice.

The event scheduled for 1pm on Sunday will see Vivian Brockman Webb and daughter Mitchella Hutchins lead residents in a chance to “look back before we look forward”, according to Ms Brockman Webb.

Participants will experience a traditional smoking ceremony before taking part in a land art installation as well as crafting small paperbark boats to offer to the Aboriginal spirit Wardan, personified as the ocean.

Among those featured on Sunday is local land artist Elaine Clocherty who will oversee the artwork aspect of the day.

“It has been two years since we gathered on the winter solstice at this very important traditional Wadandi camping ground,” she told the Times.

“In many cultures, the dark of winter is a time to reflect, to shed what is not helpful and bring in health and wellbeing for all.

“This healing at Mokidup works in two ways. First, there is a long history of racism here in Australia which for many is still experienced today.

“Winyarn Beela-Sorry Water is an opportunity to acknowledge this, at Ellensbook Homestead, the first colonial house in the Margaret River area, which later became a small mission for the Stolen Generation.”

The second aspect was recognition that cultures lost to colonialism had wider ramifications than just Australia.

“As Nan Viv states, ‘the robbing of culture, land and language has occurred for many across the planet’,” Clocherty said.

“Nan Viv asks us to acknowledge this loss (and) acknowledge that shared history, so we can heal our own wounds and move forward into our role as caretakers of this planet and in particular Wadandi Boodja.”

Interested participants were urged to bring blankets, flowers and donations.

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