Written by Squadron Energy |
A men's cultural camp that is changing the lives of Aboriginal boys and men in regional NSW took place over the weekend thanks to funding from Squadron Energy.
Senior Anaiwan elder and Cultural Camps Aboriginal Corporation Public Officer Uncle Les Ahoy JP said the cultural camp was held over three days, providing an authentic experience where participants learnt about their Anaiwan and Nganyaywana cultural lore and traditions.
"We’re very thankful to Squadron for this funding. It’s so important to keep these camps running to nurture and maintain our cultural practices, and really change the lives of many young indigenous men,” Uncle Les Ahoy JP said.
"One of our previous camps held in July 2021 was a ‘Men's Ceremony’ which saw 13 young boys graduate to become men under Anaiwan lore. It was the first initiation ceremony to be held in the Armidale district in 86 years.”
Camp participant, Beven Quinlan said that participating in the camp had given him a deeper understanding of his culture and had allowed him to build strong relationships with others involved in the camps.
“This experience has made me more aware of how we can survive off the land. I’ve got a lot out of the stories of initiated men, the way they used to travel, and about the bush medicine and bush tucker here,” Mr Quinlan said.
“The personal growth - I have definitely seen a change within myself to be a better role model in the community for my family, for my children and the younger generation.”
Squadron Energy’s Boorolong Wind Farm Project Manager Samuel Newman said the sponsorship shows Squadron’s commitment to supporting initiatives by First Nations groups in the communities where projects are based.
"We have undertaken cultural values mapping in the region as part of our project planning and engaged with a number of local indigenous groups to gain insight into indigenous culture and history in the area,” Mr Newman said.
“We do this in the early development stages, to ensure we can take into consideration a broader scope of cultural values than would otherwise be required under the statutory aboriginal heritage assessments.
“As part of these discussions, we met with Les, who advised us that the Anaiwan people were seeking funding to bring men together in this cultural camp. We are delighted to be able to support the camp through the Boorolong Wind Farm Community Sponsorship Program, and the young men participating.”
Participants are invited by Anaiwan elders to join the camp that provides authentic learnings in a culturally safe environment to help the men with their social and emotional wellbeing. The camp is run by the Cultural Camps Aboriginal Corporation.
Each of Squadron Energy’s projects has a community sponsorship program, which provides funds or in-kind support to community organisations and events in the local project area. Information on how to apply is available on the Squadron Energy website.
The proposed Boorolong Wind Farm is in the planning stage and Squadron Energy is currently engaging with local landowners and the local community.