HIPPY Moree weaving workshop a chance for Aboriginal women to reconnect with ancestors

ABORIGINAL women were able to reconnect with their ancestors on Tuesday, taking part in traditional weaving projects at the Dhiiyaan Aboriginal Centre.

“Weaving is an important activity that our ancestors practised. I’m happy to see how many people turned up for the workshop,” Dhiiyaan Aboriginal Centre’s Raquel Clarke said.

It was the first time the local Aboriginal centre catered for the workshop, a joint initiative of Joblink Plus and Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) Moree.

HIPPY falls under the umbrella of Miyay Birray Youth Services, and hosts enrichment topics for the Aboriginal community every fortnight.

“This time, we thought we would organise a weaving workshop. I’ve never done anything like this before myself,” HIPPY coordinator Jina Munro said.

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Yinarr Maramali’s Amy Hammond and Bronwyn Spearim led the workshop, helping to create the likes of baskets and dilly bags. Although their base is at Tamworth, the pair have been providing similar workshops right across the region. And the pair’s passion for weaving dates further back.

“We picked up lessons on weaving from all over the place, from Arnhem land to Brewarrina, learning how to use different materials and different styles and techniques,” Amy said.

Weaving was a practice mostly reserved for women, who used the opportunity to talk and share stories.

“Just like we are sitting around, weaving and having a yarn, our ancestors did the same thing in their time. In a sense, it feels like we are more connected to them because of this workshop. It’s a very relaxing and therapeutic activity,” Amy said.

And the activity proves to be resourceful, as the women used recyclable and recycled materials on the day.

“Traditionally, the materials you use to weave your dilly bag or basket depended on the seasons. For example, a traditional material would be natural grass,” said Amy.

Amy admitted she was surprised at the large turnout, and said it was a good indication.

“We are definitely going to be coming back to Moree.”