Residing in Lightning Ridge since the age of ten, Gamileroi and Yuwaalaraay Elder, Brenda McBride is building, and sharing, an ever growing connection to culture through traditional language.
“I used to hear my Uncles and Aunties talking in language all the time but it gradually faded away – I always wanted to reconnect with it”.
Brenda has been involved in Aboriginal culture for many years, in the region. As a keeper of traditional knowledge, she was featured in a natural resource management video ‘Through Our Eyes’. Developing her formal skills through ongoing study, she has done various stints of work with the local schools, teaching Aboriginal studies.
“They love it – they make up all the songs using the local language and it just seems to come naturally to them”.
Getting involved in the ongoing festival of song, Moorambilla, Brenda has become one of the key Elders that informs the cultural direction of the project.
“I started off as a bus driver, then a mother to the kids where I stayed on campus, now I’m talking to Michelle (Artistic Director) on a daily basis”.
The Moorambilla Choir and Festival has had a huge impact in the region, drawing students from all the small towns in the area and providing a regional platform. With the same enthusiasm, she sits on co-management committees for Narran Lakes and the Big Warrambool.
“It’s no sense sitting around, you’ve got to get involved”.
Through Brenda’s interest in culture and language, her willingness to participate in community life, and her enthusiastic and generous spirit, she is informing the cultural landscape of Lightning Ridge and the broader region.
“It took me a long time to build up my self esteem and to know what my Aunties gave me – now to be able to pass that on feels so good”.