Proud Aboriginal Man Travels 2,000 Miles To Watch His Granddaughter Graduate

December 27, 2017

aboriginal man travels 2000 miles to see granddaughter graduate
Photo credit: Margaret Burin

An Aboriginal elder traveled 2,000 miles from a remote island in north-east Arnhem Land to Healesville, Australia, to perform a special dance with his granddaughter at her college graduation.

Gali Yalkarriwuy Gurruwiwi flew from Galiwin'ku on Elcho Island to Worawa Aboriginal College in Healesville, north-east of Melbourne, where his granddaughter Sasha has been boarding for the past two and a half years.

"It was his dream, to dance with his granddaughters here," Gali's English-speaking wife, Jane Garrutju, told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

aboriginal man travels 2000 miles to see granddaughter graduate
Photo credit: Margaret Burin

Gali is a Yolngu Mala leader, known as the Morning Star dancer.

"When visitors come to Elcho Island my grandfather always dances, and all the grandchildren dance with him," Sasha said.

"I always love to dance with my grandparents. This was a bit unique."

aboriginal man travels 2000 miles to see granddaughter graduate
Photo credit: Margaret Burin

Jane says the family decided to send Sasha to Worawa because they wanted to give her a chance to be anything she wanted to be.

"[Gali's] very strong in teaching his grandchildren to cling on to their values, to be able to balance Western culture and our culture," Jane said.

Sasha says she walks proudly in both worlds.

She plans to complete year 11 and 12 at Clontarf Aboriginal College in WA and dreams of becoming a nurse, working in her own community and in Melbourne.

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