Indigenous ‘Smoking Ceremony’

The Jewish Holocaust Centre will join with the Aboriginal community on Sunday morning, 22 June, to host an Indigenous Smoking Ceremony.

A smoking ceremony is an ancient tradition among Indigenous Australians involving the smouldering of specific native plants to produce smoke deemed to hold cleansing and healing properties.

The ceremony will be conducted by Senior Boon Wurrung Foundation representative and specialist in Aboriginal culture and traditions, Aboriginal Elder, Dean Stewart of ‘A-TAEM’ – Aboriginal Tours and Education Melbourne.

Arweet Senior Elder Carolyn Briggs will lead the ceremony with the traditional “Welcome to Nation.”

The JHC has enjoyed a close and ongoing relationship with the Aboriginal community, members of which frequently attend the Centre for programs and for contemplation. Many perceive the Centre as a place of healing and associate the pain which Indigenous Australians have endured with the pain endured by the Holocaust survivors they meet at the Centre.

Holocaust survivors welcome Aboriginal people to the JHC and take the opportunity to share their inspirational stories of survival, so well received and understood by Aboriginal visitors.

Aboriginal Australians are proud of the courage of Aboriginal activist, William Cooper, who led a protest in Melbourne against the actions of the Nazis during the Kristallnacht pogroms in Germany and Austria in 1938, and who has been honoured by the Jewish Holocaust Centre and by the wider Jewish community. The William Cooper story has served to forge close ties between the local Aboriginal community and the Jewish Holocaust Centre.