At the end of last year, Canteen took a group of young people down to Yuin Country (NSW). There, they spent a couple of days exploring the land and taking part in cultural healing. The group enjoyed beginning each day with their feet in the sand during a sunrise ceremony, before they participated in Yarning Circles as well as a number of outdoor activities. They also picked (and ate!) berries, which were served with delicious cultural foods.
It was an incredible experience for both the young people and staff involved, and will be an experience they will not forget. One of the young people that participated in this program reflected on their experience, saying the following:
“Canteen’s First Nations Cultural Program was an amazing experience and I am humbled to have had the opportunity to participate in this program.
Across four days, I watched young people, including myself, most who had never met each other before bond over a shared connection in a safe space. This shared connection was an experience with cancer, and the safe space was a Yuin peoples curated and led traditional cultural program.
The group participated in many activities including a traditional Welcome to Country, a “bush-tukka” walk through the Gulaga Mountain, Yuin sun-rise ceremonies, and sharing traditional foods. The Yuin people shared their dreaming stories, their traditions, and their cultures. And at the end of each day, everybody participated in a yarning circle to share personal reflections of their day.
In the daily reflection, some of these young people who had admitted they shut the world out, opened up. They not only opened up, but they also shared both happy and sad yarns, made friends, had fun, and every participant shared their appreciation to the Yuin people for their teachings. The reflections from these young people were raw and real, and every single First Nations person who participated in the program announced how the Yuin people had inspired them to continue in their own personal cultural journey. Through Canteen Australia, this was made possible.”
Canteen’s Commitment to Reconciliation
Canteen supports national reconciliation in recognition of cancer’s disproportionate impact on our First Nations people. We are committed to providing inclusive and appropriate support for First Nations young people, their kin and community impacted by cancer. To find out more about Canteen’s reconciliation journey, read our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan.