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Gai-mariagal Festival to Recognise and Celebrate Traditional Custodians of Northern Sydney

Source: Northern Beaches Council
Posted: 24 May 2018
Northern Sydney’s longest running Indigenous cultural celebration is relaunching as the Gai-mariagal Festival.

Northern Beaches Council’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Ben Taylor said the 2018 Festival, formerly known as the Guringai Festival, marks a major turning point in the event’s 17 year history.

“The name change signifies recognition of the true custodians of the region and a newfound understanding of the land we all live and work on, the traditional homelands of the Gai-mariagal.

“It is still the same festival with the same unique collaboration of Councils, organisations and community groups working together to co-ordinate activities and celebration of First Peoples’ culture and heritage in Northern Sydney,” Mr Taylor said.

This Festival runs from Saturday 26 May (Sorry Day) through to the end of NAIDOC Week on Sunday 15 July.

It will feature around 40 events from participating council areas including Hornsby Shire, Hunters Hill, Ku-Ring-gai, Lane Cove, Mosman, North Sydney, Northern Beaches and the City of Ryde.

Festival co-chair and founder Susan Moylan-Coombs said the 2018 Festival theme Because of her, we can! aligns with the NAIDOC theme and is an opportunity for the Festival to celebrate women.

“We honour all those who have gone before us, who paved the way for us, and we celebrate them all, the women of yesterday, today and those to come. 

“When we understand the connections and belonging, to place and to each other, we can truly embrace the beauty of the feminine which resides in all of us, within both men and women. We are also reminded to celebrate the original feminine, Mother Earth, it is because of her, we all can.

“It’s about truth telling, it’s a renewal and rebirth of the Festival,” Ms Moylan-Coombs said.

Dennis Foley, one of many Gai-mariagal descendants, is looking forward to the continuing success of the festival.

“The theme for this year’s Gai-mariagal Festival is in keeping with the spiritual connection of this land, which is matrilineal land, which continues to support the spirits of the women, both past and present. 

“I am humbled and honoured that the festival now acknowledges the Gai-mariagal which includes the Cammeraigal, Gariagal, Gatlay, Gaymai, Turra-muragal, and the Burra Burragal peoples and all the sub-clans of this region,” Mr Foley said.

 
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