The Indigenous celebrations won’t be confined to the Rabbitohs’ special jersey this Thursday at ANZ Stadium, with Indigenous culture set to feature prominently in and around the ground. Take the Warada Dancers for example.
The Warada – meaning waratah – Dancers, are students from Matraville Soldiers’ Settlement Public School, who dedicate their lunch time a few days a week to rehearse for performances.
The group will feature as part of this week’s pre-game celebrations.
The Koori dance program at the school was created for Aboriginal students to gain a strong cultural identity. The school also boasts a contemporary dance group which includes Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal students.
Calita Murray is the Aboriginal Education Officer at the school, and is passionate about teaching Aboriginal Education. Both Calita and well-known International and national freelance artist, Kerry Johnson, have collaborated on the choreography for this week’s event.
The group will dance to Gathu Mawula – a song by Geoffrey Gurumil Yunupingu. In the song, Yunupingu sings about his homeland, with the girls in the dance set to represent two elements; ‘Mother Earth’, and the ‘Spirit of the Land’, while the boys will represent the ‘ancestors protecting the land’.
Speaking to Rabbitohs.com.au, Calita cited the importance of the Rabbitohs celebrating Indigenous culture.
“I think it’s really important for the Rabbitohs to be celebrating their own Indigenous roots,” said Calita.
“There are a lot of Indigenous players, a proud Indigenous past, and a huge supporter base of Indigenous people from the area and that’s part of what we’d like to represent and support through the Warada Dancers.
“For the kids performing, what it means is gaining a strong identity and maintaining cultural values such as respecting the land.
“It also means that they can share that with their peers and the wider community – it’s an absolute honour for the kids to be performing at the game in support of the team they all barrack for. They’re all incredibly excited to be a part of this.”
And it’s no wonder. According to Calita, the Red and Green passion runs deep at the school, with the annual jersey day fundraiser proving the point.
“We have a jersey day every year to raise money for various causes,” said Calita
“The majority of kids show up wearing Red and Green. It’s a source of pride for all the kids because it adds to their identity and particularly for the Indigenous kids as well – they have strong role models in the current crop of Indigenous players.”
The jersey that will be worn by the Rabbitohs is designed by Sydney-based Indigenous designer, Nikita Ridgeway, tells the stories of six of the Club’s Indigenous players including captain Greg Inglis, Indigenous All Stars representatives Kyle Turner, Alex Johnston, Chris Grevsmuhl and Dane Nielsen, as well as Rabbitohs 2016 debutant Cody Walker.
Two important Australian organisations with a focus on Indigenous people and causes, KARI Aboriginal Resources and Recognise, also feature on the jersey thanks to Rabbitohs co-major partner Crown Resorts.
Stay tuned to Rabbitohs.com.au as we roll out interviews with our Indigenous Rabbitohs players, community leaders and a whole lot more in the coming week!
Click here for Match Day Information.
Purchase your tickets to the Club’s Indigenous Round celebration at ANZ Stadium by clicking here!
Purchase your very own Rabbitohs 2016 jersey, also AVAILABLE IN WOMENS, by clicking here!