FOUR generations of the Snider family will follow the footsteps of their ancestors when they stir dust at the ancient bora grounds of the Laura Quinkan Dance Festival this Friday.
Cooktown’s Nash Snider will be among them and, for the first time, will be joined by his five daughters in the opening ceremony of the three-day event.
The proud Kuku Jelanji man is a Traditional Owner of the Laura area, and his family have opened the Laura festival for more than a decade, but this year would be only the second time they had included dance in the ceremony.
“All of the cousins come together, young, old, Elders, teenagers, aunts and uncles and little kids,” Mr Snider said.
“We’re all dancing together in the opening ceremony, presenting the shield to the winning troupe on Sunday and dancing again to close the festival.”
Mr Snider said the Kuku Jelanji Laura Quinkan Dance troupe was formed for the 2021 festival, and this year his daughters and other female relatives were joining the group.
“We have been dancing since we were little, but on our mum’s country near Beaudesert and this is our first time dancing Cape York-style,” oldest daughter Wudarabin said.
“Our relations taught us and we have taught ourselves, practising every afternoon together.”
Younger sibling Nyurin said there would be a bit of stage fright, but mostly excitement and pride.
“It’s very important to our family being back in Laura, going back on country and doing the dances, making our costumes, collecting dye and ochre and palms for our grass skirts,” she said.
“It’s the process of sitting down and doing it as a family, connecting with the materials.”
Mr Snider said the troupe danced with seven dots on their forehead in respect and acknowledgement of the seven Quinkan clans surrounding the Laura area.
“Without the other clan groups making up the surrounding areas, and others from across Cape York and further south, we wouldn’t have a festival,” he said.
“I’d like to acknowledge them all and all the time they put into the Laura Quinkan Dance Festival.”
The festival opens on Friday and runs on Saturday and Sunday at the bora grounds on the southern side of Laura. Tickets are available at the gate.