Free First Nations experiences celebrate Indigenous Business Month

“Through the tourism industry, we have a voice in a different way,” Aunty Margaret says outside Cadmans Cottage in the heart of Warrane (Sydney).

A former teacher of Aboriginal culture at the Sydney College of Advanced Education on the University of Sydney’s campus, Aunty Margaret decided to use her deep cultural understanding and her passion for education to establish Dreamtime Southern X.

She did so to ensure the world’s oldest continuous, living culture is taught and respected.

Recently, The New Daily was treated to one of Aunty Margaret’s tours of Circular Quay in Warrane, ahead of October’s Indigenous Business Month.

On the tour, Aunty Margaret explains the connection Indigenous Australians have with country, how each person cares for the land and the plants and animals that are part of her family.

“I’m responsible for making sure they don’t become endangered,” she said, adding she was involved in conservation work for koalas.

She said tourism is important to Indigenous Australians, as it helps break down negative stereotypes.

Pictured is Aunty Margaret

Intrepid Travel and Welcome to Country are offering free events in October.

“All the other industry sectors – health, education, employment – all that is really important too, but the tourism industry seems to be less fearful,” she said.

Often, people on her tours, either from Australia or overseas, are interacting with an Indigenous person for the first time, she said.

The international tourism market has embraced Indigenous tourism experiences for years, but Aunty Margaret said Australians had only done so in the past five to six years.

Dreamtime Southern X’s The Rocks Aboriginal Dreaming Tour – Illi Langi, is $69 per adult. During Indigenous Business Month, the tour is free.

Free activities

For Indigenous Business Month, Intrepid Travel has teamed with Welcome to Country, a non-profit marketplace for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences and products.

The theme for Indigenous Business Month [is To gather, together] and this activation resonates deeply within Welcome to Country, a thriving not-for-profit marketplace that stands at the forefront of promoting First Nations entrepreneurship and continuity of culture through sustainable tourism,” Welcome to Country CEO and proud Gurindji and Ngalakan-Alawa man, Desmond Campbell said.

Together, Welcome to Country and Intrepid Travel are offering free immersive activities, delivered by First Nations-owned businesses.

In Sydney, there is Aunty Margaret’s leisurely and informative stroll around Warrane, where people will learn about the history and dreaming of Eora country.

Aunty Margaret takes people for a walking tour around Warrane (Sydney) and teaches them about her culture.

For those in Naarm (Melbourne), there is a jewellery-making workshop, using natural materials such as seeds, nuts and shells, with Wiradjuri mixed media artist Ange Jeffery.

“Australia is home to the oldest living cultures on Earth, and tourism experiences designed, led or owned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people offer travellers an immersive way to engage with the rich stories and experiences that are unique to this land,” Intrepid Travel managing director ANZ Brett Mitchell said.

In each city, there are 100 free spots and the events will happen every Saturday for the remainder of October.

Book spots here.

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