By Pamela Nathan
CASSE was very privileged to be able to visit Ltyentye Apurte for an overnight visit and join members of the community and Atyenhenge-Atherre Aboriginal Corporation (AAAC) on the Horse Cultural Trek which was supported by the Bush Mob. CASSE supported two cultural elders to mentor the youth for ten days. The Horse Cultural Trek has been an annual community event for the past half a dozen years and is the pride of the community. It is for youth who have had troubles of substance usage, self harm and trauma and for the youth of Ltyentye Apurte and other parts of Central Australia Northern Territory.
CASSE was indeed warmly welcomed and Chris Wallace, Chair of AAAC, and Mossiana Jones, CEO, looked after us all very well. They also did a huge amount of work for and during the trek. Chris took us on a journey early evening to see more of his country and told stories of the Rainmaker Dreaming. We saw a stunning red sun disappear behind the brooding blackening escarpment. I found the community relations and spirit utterly inspiring as the stockmen saddled up the horses and helped the youth ride them and took them out trekking, the elder women cooked delicious damper and made bush medicines, and the elders told stories of country. A highlight was the traditional dancing of the young men in the evening. The youth were beaming and said the ten days were “awesome”. Some had never ridden a horse before but were now cantering on the bush tracks. Some had never seen the country before. Everyone worked in together for meals, sat round the fire at night and belonged together under the star studded sky, by little fires signalling camps encircled on the red earth. Old and young were jippa jippa and mwarrendorah! (good) was frequently exclaimed. The connections between the old and young generations were visibly strong.
CASSE looks forward to supporting and partaking in a bigger community and family camp next year. CASSE extends a huge thank you to the AAAC for their welcome and generosity and inclusiveness and congratulate them on a successful trek which builds strength, capacity, connections and spirit on country. We will tell more stories from the people on the trek over the next few weeks, so watch this space.
The Northern Territory's numbers in youth detention are soaring - ABC News. As more Aboriginal youth enter detention, CASSE’s cultural healing camp at Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre is an essential program that brings culture and Country into custody. pic.twitter.com/mWxZIPyRXl