A proud and strong group of Biripi people took part in a nationwide healing and dance ceremony.
About 100 Aboriginal nations across Australia danced simultaneously from 6.30pm on Saturday April 3, with the Biripi ceremony taking place at Saltwater, near Taree.
This was the second nation dance of its kind and aims to connect Aboriginal people to their land and culture and bring healing to the country.
Dancers from across the Mid North Coast gathered and joined in the ceremony.
The 2020 ceremony was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Before the ceremony, Biripi elder Uncle Russell Saunders OAM said the dance would bring healing to the Manning Valley community, which had suffered through drought, bushfires and floods.
"We want great healing again from 'The Great Spirit'," Russell said.
"We're going to ask God to bring healing over this land, the valley and this nation.
"We need to grow and move forward for the people that have suffered through these hurts - farmers and people who have lost homes.
"I'm asking 'The Great Spirit' to bring healing and prosperity back to our valley and people."
Participation was only open to Aboriginal people, from all nations, but other community members were able to watch on.
Russell delivered the Welcome to Country in both Gathang and English before the dances began.
Jeremy Saunders spoke about the significance of the dances.
"Our dances are going to tell the story from the mountains all the way down to the coast," Jeremy said.
Male dancers moved around the dance circle as sharks to depict the totem of the Biripi people.
It was certainly an amazing sight as the sun set over the national park.
The ceremony fittingly coincided with the 2021 NAIDOC theme 'Heal Country'.
The last nation dance in Biripi country was held in 2019 in the immediate aftermath of the bushfire crisis.
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