Giingan Gumbaynggirr Cultural Experience revitalising Gumbaynggirr Language and Culture

Wajaarr Ngaarlu Dance Troupe performed at the new amphitheatre at Niigi Niigi (Sealy Lookout) in Coffs Harbour. Courtesy of BMNAC, 2021.

Previously, Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC) announced the reopening of their social enterprise, Nyanggan Gapi ‘Perfect Coffee’ Café & Catering this Wednesday. Now, BMNAC has some more exciting news to announce their Giingan Gumbaynggirr Cultural Experience - Christmas Eve Special!

Despite having to put a pause on a few of their tours over the past months due to COVID-19 restrictions, they are back at it again with an upcoming tour this Christmas Eve! Held monthly at Sealy Lookout in the Orara East State Forest, the Giingan Gumbaynggirr Cultural Experience tours engage attendees in Gumbaynggirr culture and Country through language, dance, storytelling and damper sampling. Upon arrival, attendees enjoy a lovely coffee and cake from the Nyanggan Gapi Café, located in the carpark at Sealy Lookout, Coffs Harbour. This 2hr informative tour engages attendees in a bush walk down the Gumgali Track to Korora Lookout, where attendees will hear Dreaming stories of the surrounding lands and significant Aboriginal sites. At the end of each tour, attendees make their way to the new amphitheatre, overlooking the magnificent Orara East State Forest to watch the stunning Wajaarr Ngaarlu (Earth Water) Dance Troupe perform and sing in the local Gumbaynggirr language (BMNAC, 2021).

Wajaarr Ngaarlu Dance Troupe members preparing for their performance at the new amphitheatre at Niigi Niigi (Sealy Lookout) in Coffs Harbour. Courtesy of BMNAC, 2021.

The Giingan Gumbaynggirr Cultural Experience is a multi-award winning tourism experience whose proceeds are invested into BMNAC’s core educational and cultural programs. The Giingan cultural tours have an impressive number of awards under their belt, such as a Bronze (2018) and Gold (2019) in the NSW Tourism Awards for Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism, as well as a Silver (2020) Qantas Award for Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism. This success is a result of BMNAC’s dedication to providing their guests from all walks of life with an authentic, quality cultural experience so that they can continue their mission to revitalise Gumbaynggirr language and culture (BMNAC, 2021). BMNAC’s CEO and local Gumbaynggirr Bundjalung man, Clark Webb, made a statement (2019) on the matter:

"Gumbaynggirr [language] is listed as critically endangered. For those of us who do speak it, we’ve had to work really hard to learn our language. And the opportunity that tourism provides for us is to look at a financially sustainable model to create language learning pathways for our community as well. Knowing that all of my ancestors have walked this country for all those thousands of years, gives us a really deep sense of connection to this Country here, a really deep sense of pride in who we are.”

Tour group engaging in Gumbaynggirr dance and language. Courtesy of BMNAC, 2021.

As we can see, the tours provide the Gumbaynggirr community with opportunities to regularly practice speaking their traditional language and exercise cultural practices on Country. So, if you’re in the area or looking for things to do this Christmas holiday, come and check out this multi-award-winning cultural tour! Tickets for the tour can be purchased at the Nyanggan Gapi Café (Sealy Lookout Drive, Coffs Harbour) on the day. To book online, visit BMNAC’s website or their Facebook page

At Yarn, we are passionate about supporting and spreading awareness to the wider Australian community about Indigenous non-for-profits and social enterprises that are committed to revitalising and sustaining Indigenous language, culture, art and community. So, as BMNAC continues to grow, we wish them the very best on their path to helping provide the Gumbaynggirr community with economic, social and cultural empowerment, for generations to come!