When Kuku Yalanji woman Uki Burchill woke up one morning this week to a series of messages alerting her to footage of people making fun of her culture, she was shocked and hurt.
Even more so when she realised some of the people taking part in the behaviour were well known to her.
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The video, originally shared to Snapchat, shows a group of locals from the far north Queensland town of Mossman mocking Indigenous dance during an engagement party.
“I was just in absolute disbelief, I was shocked, I was hurt, at the time I felt angry,” she told 7NEWS.
Burchill, who grew up in Mossman, said a non-Indigenous family member of hers was at the party.
But that wasn’t the only familiar face – and she says those involved should know better.
“A lot of the partygoers are locals of the Mossman community, however they are not Indigenous members of the community,” Burchill said.
“I felt angry.
“A lot of these men have grown up with a lot of the Indigenous people of the community
“So they do have cultural understanding around these dances.
“They’ve been around us.
“They’ve been around our culture their entire lives as well. They know the significance and importance of these dances.
“For them to go and do what they did, it’s hurtful.”
Burchill said a number of those involved had apologised, but she believes more education around Indigenous culture and language is necessary to reinforce that such behaviour is unacceptable.
She said the incident had “shed light” that racism still exists “all over Australia”.
“They are remorseful. They are apologetic. They do regret their actions,” she said.
“They take this as a lesson. They are sorry and want to move forward with us
“The dances are the Kuku Yalanji dances that we use as Indigenous people of the area.
“We use them at ceremonies and stuff like that, at celebrations, funerals.
“They do hold significant meaning to our people.”
The actions of those involved in the video have been strongly condemned after the footage went viral.
Influencer Sari-Ella Thaiday, who is both an Aboriginal and a Torres Strait Islander woman, shared the clip with her 94,000 followers on TikTok with the caption: “share around, they’re at it again”.
This content was originally published here.