The Wake Up Time group
For over nine years, the Aboriginal women in The Wake Up Time group have been meeting in a shed in the Oaks Housing Estate in Casino to learn traditional crafts and make artefacts. Yet Wake Up Time is more than a craft group. 'The women are exposed to all the community stresses that are a direct result of alcohol and drug abuse,' said Lauren Jarrett a Bundjalung, Gumbayngirr and Dunghutti woman who is a drug and alcohol counsellor with The Buttery's INTRA outreach program. 'When they walk into the shed, they have a safe place where they can release their stresses with the other women. The repetition of weaving or stitching as they do traditional crafts is a meditation for them.'
'It is a way of renewing culture and essential in healing the effects of dispossession and the stolen generation. The women "walk the land" retracing the steps of their great grandmothers and connecting with the environment while feeding the spirit as they search for pandanus, lomandra and other local materials to use in their craft.' The Casino group includes teenagers as well as women in their eighties, and every age group in between. As well as reeds and grasses they are rediscovering traditional dyes and use feathers and seeds for decoration, just as they have done for millennia.
The Wake Up Time group have held several exhibitions and sell their crafts to provide additional income for their community.