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Friday, March 27 • 10:30am - 12:00pm
Indigenous Panel - Connecting Communities

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We are honored to share in the knowledge and wisdom of these indigenous elders: (The image below is of the Leweton Women’s Water Music Troupe, lead by Edith (right), getting ready to perform at the Nanda Blue Hole in Santo.)

Presenters include:

Ofelia Rivas - O'odham Elder: 

Statement by Ofelia Rivas on Shu-da’g (Water)

Water is life for all life, not just humans.

The physical altering of whole terrains impacts all life.  From the leveling of mountains and hills, to the altering of bodies of water and the pollution of the seas and oceans, to the contamination and damming of the rivers, and the massive destruction caused by the extraction of metals and minerals – these things impact all life.

Mother Earth is altered and destroyed by extensive modern human habitation.  She is altered and destroyed through mass unconscious consumerism.  She is altered and destroyed by the mass extraction of minerals including uranium, silver, and gold. These things alter the quality and quantity of water for all life.

Mother Earth is altered by the massive irresponsibility of humans, and this is speeding up climate change. Our modern society is unbalanced and is driven by instant gratification without regard for the future.

The entire O'odham way of life is based on water. Our ceremonies, songs, and dances all pay homage to water in the form of rain, clouds, and the water animals.  The O'odham continue to exist on this land.  We have been here for hundreds of thousands of years living in balance with Mother Earth. We are a natural part of the world, and we have an obligation to live in balance with Mother Earth.

The O’odham conduct offerings to the sea to raise the clouds, and then we prepare our seeds. We conduct our ceremonies and wait for the rains to come, and then we plant in the water ways all over the land. First the jegos, the great cleansing winds, will arrive; then the rains will come. We plant our seeds in the natural mouth of the desert washes, where water flows only after the rains. We also plant in natural flood areas. We greatly appreciate all the natural water holes, the springs, and the rivers that flow from the mountains. The natural water storage areas of our homelands are being impacted by industry and the great landscape altering that comes with it.

All the desert plants of my homeland live in balance with the water. The ha'san, the giant saguaro, waits for the rains and stores the water in her porous insides. She blooms and produces fruit for the O'odham to harvest, for the animals to eat, and for the sustenance of all life. Many greens like wild spinach, onions, and tubers come up on the land in days after the rain waters come to the lands. Animals such as the deer, the Bighorn Sheep, the Javalina, the Mountain Tortoise, and the Rabbit graze to their fill. The o’odham collect and dry the harvest so that it can be rehydrated to eat throughout the year. 

We consider the continuous destruction of our sacred water by modern society to be genocide against all life.  We, the people of conscience, must no longer allow this oppressive system to contaminate the water that is our life.  John Trudell said that "We are power," that we human beings have the essence of power.  With this power we can stop the destruction.

CONNECTING COMMUNITIES - Balance-Unbalance 2015 Welcoming Ceremonies from the Noosa Biosphere Reserve in Australia and remote pacific Islands in the Republic of Vanuatu. 

Gubbi Gubbi Dance - Noosa Biosphere Reserve, Australia 
WUNYA NGULUM (Welcome Everyone!) from the GUBBI GUBBI people of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, the location of the 2013 Balance-Unbalance International Conference. 
Gubbi Gubbi Dance is a group of indigenous artists & performers from Queensland, Australia. Gubbi Gubbi (pronounced gub-bee) is the language spoken by the traditional custodians of the area. Lyndon Davis and Shannon Chilly, direct descendants of the Gubbi people, founded the troupe in 1996. Bringing together family members and local young indigenous people to celebrate the dances of their homelands. They have gained a strong rapport throughout their community taking great pride in their culture and feeling blessed to share their knowledge.

Gubbi Gubbi dance provide an unforgettable cultural experience. Their magical presentation of song and dance leaves the audience spellbound and has built them a reputation of being one of the most well renowned traditional aboriginal dance troupes in Southeast Queensland. 

Lyndon Davis says “Our lands stretched from Queensland’s Pine River in the south, to Burrum River in the north, Connondale ranges to the west. Our territories were bordered by mountain ranges and river systems. There were many clans within this vast area, approximately 20, numbering from 150 to 500 strong. All of these family groups shared this language, and would come together on a regular basis for special ceremonies, such as marriage, initiation, and especially festivals.” 

At Balance-Unbalance 2013, Lyndon Davis and Gubbi Gubbi Dance opened and closed the conference with a traditional Welcome to Country and cultural performance. In 2015, we are pleased to present a brief window into their rich cultural tradition with a welcoming performance on the banks of the Noosa River, at the exact location where we closed Balance-Unbalance 2013. 

This is an opportunity to continue the conversation and respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where Balance-Unbalance travels for each conference. 
This short video performance prepared exclusively for Balance-Unbalance features Lyndon Davis, Brent Miller and Jessy Mckinless from Gubbi Gubbi Dance on the banks of the Noosa River. 

Jason Nez - Navajo Nation

Jason Nez is a member of the Navajo Nation, from Coalmine Mesa,  Arizona.  He has been working as an archaeologist for the past 11 years,  mostly in Northern Arizona and the 4 corners region.   He has worked for the Navajo Nation Archaeology Department,  the Musuem of Northern Arizona,  the National Park Service, and various cultural resource companies.  A 2004 graduate of Northern Arizona University (B. S.  Environmental Science)  he believes one of his duties as a scientist,  and a Native American,  is to share is knowledge with the public and especially to the public to raise awareness of Native American/First Nations cultural resource,  which would lead to a better understanding of Native American/First Nation issues.

Leweton Cultural Group, Republic of Vanuatu, South Pacific Islands 
Leweton Cultural Group hails from the remote tropical northern islands of Gaua and Merelava in Vanuatu, and live in a village in Espiritu Santo where they present, share, and maintain their unique cultural traditions and practises across cultures and generations. The Leweton Cultural Group has attracted attention from across the world with the mesmerising women’s water music and the energetic sounds of String band Matto. 

These remote Island communities are experiencing the true ramifications of climate change and at Balance-Unbalance we recognise the critical value of engaging with Indigenous knowledge systems in responding to climate change. 

The Leweton Cultural Group performing Vanuatu Women’s Water Music were a highlight for many at Balance-Unbalance 2013 in Australia and we have maintained an ongoing partnership to make sure remote coastal and island communities have a voice in global conversations around climate change. 

We are thrilled to include the Leweton Cultural Group in Balance-Unbalance 2015, with a Kastom Ceremony and Water Music performance conducted in Vanuatu especially for the opening of Balance-Unbalance 2015. This video also includes a welcoming message from Sandy Sur, a community leader from Vanuatu and the Leweton Cultural Group. 

avatar for Leah Barclay

Leah Barclay

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Griffith University
Co-Chair, Sonic Environments (www.sonicenvironments.org)
avatar for Garth Paine

Garth Paine

Associate Professor in Digital Sound and Interactive Media, Arizona State University|Tempe|Arizona|USA
Garth is particularly fascinated with sound as an experiential medium, both in musical performance and as an exhibitable object. This passion has led to several interactive responsive environments where the inhabitant generates the sonic landscape through their presence and behav... Read More →

avatar for Lyndon Davis

Lyndon Davis

Gubbi Gubbi Dance
Gubbi Gubbi Dance is a group of indigenous artists & performers from Queensland, Australia. Gubbi Gubbi (pronounced gub-bee) is the language spoken by the traditional custodians of the area. Lyndon Davis and Shannon Chilly, direct descendants of the Gubbi people, founded the troupe... Read More →
avatar for Leweton Cultural Group

Leweton Cultural Group

Leweton is a community on the Island of Santo, Vanuatu. Leweton is a cultural experience that is made up of related families from 6 villages from the islands of Merelava and Gaua. Since 2008 we have been sharing our cultural experience with visitors from all around the world. We invite... Read More →

Ofelia Rivas

Ofelia Rivas: Ofelia is the founder of the O’odham VOICE Against the WALL and the O’odham Cultural and Environmental Justice Coalition. She is a representative of the traditional O’odham elders and ceremony leaders, and has represented the O’odham at the World People's Summit... Read More →

Friday March 27, 2015 10:30am - 12:00pm MST
Katzin Concert Hall, Music Building 50 E Gammage Pkwy

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