I was expecting this aboriginal experience to be similar to a Hawaiian Luau. In some ways I was not too far off the mark. On arrival we immediately sat down for lunch, which was very good and we got to try even more varieties of kangeroo meat).
After we had stuffed ourselves (trust me I always make the most of all you can eat buffets), we were taken to an outside auditorium where we were witnessed a dance show. The dancing was mostly traditional with didgeridoo playing and chanting, but they finished with a CD they had released which basically was a modern pop song. It felt a little surreal. We were then taken to see a further didgeridoo demonstration, and a talk about the rainforest â€œtuckerâ€ or food.
Whilst interesting, I was really looking forward to throwing my first boomerang. This was fun, we got taken into a rope cage in the middle of a field (boomerangs can hurt if they hit you on their way back), where we got the chance to throw something away, only to have it come right back to us. It is a unique experience! They question I have is this: Usually, when I throw something away, I donâ€™t actually want it backâ€¦
We then got to experience a light and lazer show explaining a aborioginee creation story. Whilst this was interesting, it had a little too much polish and a slight hint of tack. Both my lovely wife and I were feeling that this was a little less genuine than we were being led to believe. However the next show was a history of this particular tribe, and it put everything into perspective.
The Tjupuki were pretty much wiped out due to white European hunting (There really is no other word for it), enforced slavery, and the â€œlost generationâ€ policies that last all the way up until the 1970â€™s. This was a government policy that allowed any aborigine child to be taken from the mother if the father was suspected to be non-aboriginal. The reality was that many thousands of children were taken from both their mother and their father and brought up in foster homes. In these homes depression, drug and alchohol abuse were common amongst the graduates, perpetuating a racist attitude with white Australians. The situation for Aborigineâ€™s is only just starting to turn around with reserves being setup for Aborigines to manage. Whole tribes, whole cultures were lost because of this policy. The Tjipuki have survived but have lost a great deal of knowledge of their culture, and are now beginning to rebuild it. I had heard about this awfull history befire, but it never really hit home until I visited this cultural center.
The Tjupuki have done a fantastic job in setting up such a place where they can pass on lessons that we all need to learn. This is a lesson we seem to need to learn often.