5 February, 2023
Sacred smoking ceremony welcomes everyone to Country
For only the second time in Gilgandra’s history, a smoking ceremony was held at the Australia Day celebrations.
Welcoming and connecting the community,
Uncle Ralph Naden said that this event is the
ideal way to come together.
“Being a black fella, (a smoking ceremony) is
part of getting together. That’s not dividing us,
that’s getting together. Once you combine, you
become family,” he explained.
During the Australia Day Prelude Concert,
Uncle Ralph also told the audience that they
were all family.
“I said to them last night — I said have a look
around, and see how many First Nations people,
you can see here. You are all my family.
“It’s not about, ‘oh you think you’re running
the show, etc,’ it’s about getting together, and you
do things properly,” he added.
Uncle Ralph welcomed attendees to Country,
as well as welcomed them to the exact location
where the ceremony took place, through the welcome
Ensuring young people continue to
only move forward, Uncle Ralph has also taken
some of the younger community under his wing. Alongside him in his welcome dance stood
boys from Trangie and surrounding areas.
Guiding them forward, the youth shared their
experiences while dancing with the Bangarra
Dance Theatre and on the big stage at the
“That’s encouragement to help young
Aboriginal kids,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter who they are, they keep
going forward. We all stumble in life a little, but
we have to keep going forwards.
“Don’t count how many times you fall down,
count how many times you got back up,” Uncle
“Don’t worry about skin, that’s got nothing to
do with it. It’s what’s in underneath there, that
carries you through,” he added.
Uncle Ralph said that he was beyond proud of the young group, and looks forward to continuing to share their journey.