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Water blessing

Traditional owners welcome newly-arrived migrants to country in a deeply moving ceremony.

On Yulin Country, along the banks of Katherine River, a deeply spiritual, healing ceremony is taking place. The water blessing and smoking ceremony, passed down from ancestors, offers healing and hope from Traditional Owners to new migrants from around the world.

It is a profoundly important spiritual connection, May Rosas, Senior Cultural Governance Partner and Wumelamelawun Traditional Owner explains.

“It is our responsibility to everyone who comes to work and live on our country to keep them safe,” May says.

“Our law hasn’t changed, our customs and our traditions are rich and powerful. Our ancestors have been meeting, trading, negotiating on that country for over 60,000 years. It’s been a long, ongoing practice, something I take much pride in continuing."

In this profoundly moving way, new Australians are connected to the spirituality of their new home.

Smoking ceremony on Yulin Country

The women who receive this blessing have faced difficulties on their journey to Australia. They are all starting new lives in the Northern Territory. Red Cross supports them along the way through the Connected Women program.

The ceremony deepens a sense of belonging and offers a moving healing experience. The significance of these traditional ceremonies are deeply felt.

“I feel really brave after that water blessing and start to think positive,” Munia from Bangladesh says.

“I was broken from six years ago when we have to leave the country and move to Australia to find our safe life with our kids. When I think about it, it really makes me broken, but this smoke ceremony helps me to think positive and lift me from dark.”

Fringed by trees, Yulin is a significant meeting and law place for the local Wumelamelawun people. 

"If we don't welcome people our way, it will be their loss. So it's our responsibility," May says.

“Such ceremonies should be attended by every visitor to Aboriginal land. This is important to know their culture beliefs, value system and their lifestyle in overall” Anup from Nepal said after the ceremony."

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