Clancestry – A Tribal Gathering & Celebration


Clancestry – A Tribal Gathering & Celebration

Words by Rachel Trevarthen, Photos by Mick Richards Copyrighted image must credit Mick Richards on all uses.

“This is a tribal gathering, of clans, Yerabora. South East Queensland reunites for the first time in hundreds of years to showcase a tribal ceremony. Tonight we are focusing on the use of smoke signals to call other tribes into Yerabora. Tonight, Yuggera the Brisbane tribe hosts will invite the four major language groups of the region, the Gubbi Gubbi to the North, the Yugembir and Komburmerri to the south, the Yuluburribah to the East and to the West, the Waka Waka. Once they are all united, we will welcome tribes from all over Australia to participate in Clancestry.”

These are the words of Darren Brody a local indigenous man and MC for the opening night dance of Clancestry where thousands of people came to watch, participate in and celebrate culture before there were buildings.

A tribal gathering of clans on the banks of Maiwar (more widely known as the Brisbane River) sees an important return to a sacred site for the Turrbul and Yuggera people of the Brisbane Region.

Conversations are had, fire is burned and dance is performed on land that has seen radical changes in the past few centuries but retains the life force of the ancestors of its indigenous people.

Clancestry, in its third year, is a weeklong celebration of indigenous culture. Fred Leone, Guest Curator for Yawar an evening of storytelling closing Clancestry on Sunday, spoke to SIBW about it.Copyrighted image must credit Mick Richards on all uses.

“Clancestry means legacy for the future. It leaves a footprint much greater than the event itself on the wider community, on the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in terms of cultural maintenance and language preservation,” Fred says.

“We are slowly moving into the realm of providing more and more displays of people from other First nations mobs, both traditional and contemporary. Every year the sentiments of pride and the ability to present our culture in an authentic and sensitive way means a lot.”

Yawar is a shared word between Kabi, Butchella and Yugarapul people that means to ‘to sing and dance.’

Fred says Yawar will be an awe inspiring display of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in one place and one time, unlike anything seen in the region previously.

“It will be a very heartfelt, warm display of culture to show the wider community the beauty of indigenous culture they mightn’t always see or hear about,” he says.

Clancestry marks another event on the calendar where indigenous people can be proud of their culture. It showcases a revival in indigenous cultural celebration and acknowledgement, albeit with a way to go.

“We aren’t fully there yet as a country. As indigenous people what need most is to be acknowledged, for the past, the preseCopyrighted image must credit Mick Richards on all uses.nt and to feel heard. This is slowly happening. Particularly the conversation series at Clancestry allow people to hear what is actually going on in our community,” Fred says.

“If we didn’t have all the staunch marches in the 60s and 70s this may never have happened. Because they did put in that fight, it has amounted to us creating a narrative so people can better understand indigenous culture.”

Clancestry runs all this weekend in Brisbane. The full program can be viewed here.


Clancestry – A Tribal Gathering & Celebration

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Established in 1977, Ausdance WA is a membership organisation providing support and advocacy for all forms of dance. We are part of a network of ...