SPONSORED: Winun Ngari Aboriginal Corporation is strengthening community through Junba, a form of storytelling through traditional song and dance.

For years, Junba has been used to strengthen the social and emotional wellbeing of our people and is a practice by which the community can strengthen intergenerational bonds and connect to language and Country.

Since the early 1900s, our songs and dances have seen an estimated 90 per cent decline. We have aimed to bring the songs back by providing workshops for people to engage with Junba and re-learn ancient songs and dances.

Junba dance and song has been performed by Ngarinyin, Worrorra and Wunumbal peoples of the Kimberley for thousands of years for celebration and coming together.

Junba is a traditional form of storytelling through song and dance. Photo supplied by Winun Ngari Aboriginal Corporation.

Junba are given to composers in dreams, when the spirit of one of their Old People comes to visit. The Old People take the composer over Country and through time to witness dances, songs and the events that they celebrate.

The composers then instruct his or her group in the making of the dance boards and totems and leads them in the song following the idea that he or she recorded in the dream. After it has been prepared, a composer can share the Junba with other tribes of Wurnan, along with other precious items, like food, ochres, pearl shell and knowledge.

Through the involvement of children and Elders in Junba, we have been able to reinvigorate the songs and dances among young people—keeping culture strong for years to come.

 

Junba at NAIDOC Family Day

With the help of Rona Charles and Stacie Skehan, the students of Wananami Remote Community School have learnt and performed Junba at this year’s NAIDOC Family Day!

“This year I felt an extra shift in their thinking and belief in themselves. Their shoulders were back and they beamed with pride to be dressed in their outfits and to perform,” said Skehan.

“In the lead up and on the day, we saw our Student Leaders take on teaching roles for activities and guide the younger students in their dancing.”

“I truly believe this is the impact of our Culture and Language program that is happening every week.”

“This program has grown so much and it is giving our students a sense of identity, pride and inner strength that is making them believe in themselves. I’m really excited to see this continue to grow and have even more of an impact on their social and emotional wellbeing.”

The NAIDOC Day Celebrations provided the chance to celebrate language and culture and showcase how important this is not only today but every day.