Connecting with your Aboriginal culture through dance

Sam Stubbs waka dancers

By Samuel (Wirrdapi) Stubbs, proud Wangkatha man.

Having grown up in a large family spread across different Australian states, I've always felt the need to maintain a strong connection to my culture and my loved ones. Despite the physical distances between us, I found a way to stay deeply rooted in my heritage through Aboriginal dance. It has become my lifeline, my source of joy and belonging. With every beat and movement, I feel an overwhelming sense of pride in my Aboriginal identity.

Dance has become my way of honouring my family, our traditions and the land that shapes us. It is a powerful tool for keeping the flame of our ancestry alive. Through my performances, I not only celebrate my cultural heritage but also hope to inspire others to embrace their own ancestral roots and find strength in that connection. Dance is the thread that weaves together my past, present and future, reminding me of who I am and where I come from.

Download the transcript.

When we learn our dances, we connect with our land and our culture, and we keep our culture alive and strong.

Dance has been an important part of Indigenous culture for thousands of years. It plays an important role in our ceremonies and celebrations and helps to maintain the culture of our people by passing down stories, songs and traditions from generation to generation. Dance has been used historically to communicate stories and messages about the land, animals and ancestral spirits. It’s also an essential part of healing and wellbeing for Mob.

Dance is a way of honouring and acknowledging our country and the people who have lived here for thousands of years. It’s an expression of our culture and reflects the diversity of all the different nations across Australia.

Indigenous dance groups provide opportunities for young people to understand, appreciate and promote our culture and to connect with their community. The dancers learn the history and significance of traditional movements and songs and perform them at events and ceremonies.

Dance helps us to develop a sense of identity and belonging. For many Indigenous people, it is a way of healing and finding strength in difficult times, just as I have done when I’ve felt disconnected from my family. It’s a way of reconnecting with the land and the community, which is incredibly important for our mental health and wellbeing.

Aboriginal dance can also be used as a tool for reconciliation. It’s a way of acknowledging the past and creating understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. By sharing our culture through dance, Indigenous people can educate others about our history, traditions and values.

It is vital for young Indigenous people to connect with our culture and heritage. Whether it’s through dance, storytelling, art, language or other means, finding a way to connect with your roots provides a sense of belonging, identity and pride. By preserving cultural practices, we can help to strengthen the wellbeing and resilience of Indigenous communities. It’s important that we support and celebrate Indigenous cultures and encourage young people to embrace their traditions and continue the legacy of their ancestors. Through this, we can work towards reconciliation and create a brighter future for all Australians!

What can I do now?

  • Check out this comic on why helping out mob makes us all feel deadly.

  • Check out our Yarn Up collection for more stories about young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people connecting with culture.