Aboriginal elder travels 1,800 miles to celebrate granddaughter’s graduation

Gali Yalkarriwuy Gurruwiwi lives on a remote island in Australia’s Northern Territory, doesn’t speak English, or could tell you his age but loves to dance.

He is an elder of the indigenous clan called the Galpu clan and rarely leaves his home but when he heard that his granddaughter was graduating from her college in Melbourne he had to make the journey to celebrate.

He made the nearly 2,000-mile journey to Worawa Aboriginal College where his granddaughter Sasha Mulungunhaway Yambulul has been boarding so he could celebrate her achievement through dance.

Sasha has been studying at the college in Healsville, north-east of Melbourne for over two years along with another of Gali’s granddaughters.

Gali made the long journey to celebrate Sasha’s Year 10 graduation with a traditional dance.

Gali said through his wife who translated for him “I am proud of my grandchildren Sasha and Alica, I am proud that this college has taken care of them and they got a good education.”

But he added “They need to know who they are and where they come from and now Sasha walks proudly in both worlds.”

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When Sasha and Alica aren’t in college they all live with their family on Elcho island and the two girls had never been away from home before.

“I love hunting, looking for oysters and fishing and looking for mango worms and dancing traditional, we call it bunggul, that’s what I miss, telling stories around the campfire” Sasha said.

Alica still has to complete her studies at the college which opened in 1983 and educates young Indigenous people while respecting their own culture and history.

Sasha now plans to continue her studies at a different college in Western Australia and become a nurse.

Such a beautiful celebration with her grandfather, what a wonderful bond these two share.

Sasha is clearly an ambitious young lady while also respecting and cherishing the culture she comes from; we wish her all the success in the future.

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