Glen Innes venture will help young Aborigines connect with their past

Hilton Naden.

Hilton Naden.

A special camp is being organised in Glen Innes for young Aborigines to reconnect with their culture.

It’s being organised by the Pathfinders organisation which helps Aboriginal youth who are separated from their families.

According to Sally McLennan, one of the managers at the organisation, ensuring that Aboriginal children remained connected to their culture is one of the most critical issues facing children and young people in care.

“A lot of our kids struggle with their cultural identity because they haven’t been given the opportunity to learn and explore their culture and family origins,” she said.

“It falls within our responsibility as carers to help our kids reconnect with their culture, and that’s exactly what we’re aiming for with the Pathfinders Cultural Camp.”

One of the organisers of the camp is Hilton Naden, a Wiradjuri man, who said he grew up getting his groceries and tools from the bush and forest.

He said that with modern facilities and the ease of driving to the shops, a lot of traditional cultural techniques such as hunting and gathering are becoming a lost art.

“The children and young people at the Pathfinders Cultural Camp will participate in Aboriginal traditions and activities that they might otherwise never get to experience,” he said.

“Having Aboriginal staff and community Elders attend and conduct a smoking ceremony, tell ghost stories and teach traditional song, dance and artwork will authenticate the experience and help bring these rich traditions back for the kids.”

The camp attendees will also get to learn how to fish, make coolamons, start a camp fire and cook a traditional Aboriginal meal.  

All staff and guest presenters at the camp will be Aboriginal.

Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care throughout New South Wales are invited to attend.

The four-day camp will take place next month at The Willows in Glen Innes.