Australia's Indigenous WWII Soldiers Are Finally Being Recognised

A group of Indigenous soldiers has performed a ceremony in Sydney before travelling to Gallipoli to honour fallen diggers.

A group of eight Indigenous Australians will make history on the weekend when they travel to Gallipoli to perform the first ever ceremony dedicated to fallen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander troops during World War Two.

A group of eight Indigenous Australians will make history on the weekend when they travel to Gallipoli to perform the first ever ceremony dedicated to fallen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander troops during World War Two.

The group met on Friday in Sydney and performed the first-of-its-kind ceremony for the local Aboriginal community.

"Right now the Army don’t have any ceremony for fallen indigenous soldiers but we’re hoping that after this we will have one," Major Joseph West told BuzzFeed News.

"We have such a broad diversity of Indigenous serving members that it just makes sense and that’s what we’ve done today. We’ve all come together from all different places and brought our own piece of culture and put our hearts into this."

Allan Clarke / BuzzFeed

The group has been rehearsing for the past few months with renowned Indigenous dance company Bangarra.

The group has been rehearsing for the past few months with renowned Indigenous dance company Bangarra.

The performance incorporates a traditional smoking ceremony to cleanse the earth, and people and soldiers will incorporate traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance into the ceremony.

A traditional song in Yolngu Matha, the language of the Yolngu people of Arnhem land, will be sung to call back lost spirits.

For Sgt. Norman Daymirringu, travelling overseas and representing his community is cause for pride in his remote community home.

"My mob back at home are really proud of me because I'm the first Yolngu man going overseas for the Army, and for a service, so I am proud too," he told BuzzFeed News.

Allan Clarke / BuzzFeed

Private Alfred Jackson Coombs (front row, centre) served at Gallipoli in the Australian Heavy Battery.

Australian War Memorial


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