Laura Interview

August 10, 2023
"Music should be a full body, soul and mind experience. This is what the music at Mahico offers. It’s the medicine of dance, culture and community."
In this interview, Laura shares her involvement in projects like "The Returning" and "Blak Market," highlighting the significance of creating safe spaces for cultural education and economic empowerment. Her collaboration with Mahico is rooted in shared values of cultural authenticity, community, and music's transformative power.

Can you tell us a bit about your heritage and how this has influenced your path as an activist water/ land protector? 

The Country I belong to is Barkindji Country. I come from a long line of staunch matriarchal women. As a proud Aboriginal woman it is a part of my DNA that I have a deep connection to land and water. There is no separation between myself and Country so when she hurts, I hurt, so therefore I will always fight to protect her for my elders, ancestors and future generations. 

You have a strong voice in the community both as an educator & activist ? Can you talk about this and its importance in the current human/world context we are facing today?

Humans have become so disconnected from the sources we all need to survive. Water, air, Country and community. Indigenous people hold the knowledge on how we can all live with Country and not against her. If we want to move forward together as a human race, we need to be Indigenous lead all around the world.

What do you feel are the greatest teachings First Nations communities have to offer to our world during these times of paradigm shifts? 

This interview is not long enough for all that I could share, but what I will share is three sayings, that have such deep meaning if you allow yourself to truly feel and hear the words:

“We don’t own the land, we belong to it” 

“You can’t have our culture, but not our struggles”

“ Always was, always will be Aboriginal land”

You are currently involved in two very special projects “The Returning and “Blak Market” Can you tell us a little bit about these and why they are so close to your heart?

Both of these organisations align deeply with who I am. They are Blak safe spaces, where a shared common goal is to support mob, create impactful change, educate and share with the whole community. Both of these spaces are also filled with rich, knowledge strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders and people that teach me everyday.

First Nations people are first generation business owners. The Blak Markets is a space where these stallholders can come to not just sell their products, but their stories and culture. This not only creates economic wealth but also cultural education to the consumer.

The Returning is a staunch all woman run, Indigenous charity. 

“It was created in order to bring people back into right relationship with the planet. We offer a host of programs for Indigenous youth, all women and camps for men, women, jarjums and elders.

The Returning puts the furtherance of Indigenous culture at the heart of all activities. It strives to meaningfully promote Indigenous voices at all workshops, events and retreats. We look to break down the

These cultural practices are varied in their nature, and include but are not limited to- art, language, movement, Indigenous practices pertaining to femininity and community, Indigenous land management practices and connection to Country” ~ Ella Noah Bancroft

We’ve had the privilege of working together on and off for the last 15 years. Tell us about your history in events, what role you play at Mahico and how it came about?

An absolute privilege it has been!

I actually first started working in the event management space as a young child supporting  the organisation of protests on Gadigal land with the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Watch Committee.

That then expanded and grew into 20+ years of raves, conferences, club nights, music festivals, gatherings, protests, markets, art fairs all around the world, and now Mahico. I also studied event management back in my younger years.

How we came to be working together was pretty simple, we were both living on Bundjalung Country. You wanted to turn Mahico into an outdoor festival, you knew I had the skills to make that happen and my moral compass agreed with your vision. 

In summary your beautiful artist brain and my logistics brain were the perfect partnership. Also our many years of knowing and trusting each other, is a familiar place that just naturally works.

We are beyond grateful and humble to have you on board in our Mahico familia. What would you say are the values/purpose of MAHICO that resonated with you and made you say I want to co-create with us?

It’s the story of how it was birthed. The connection to the culture of Mexico and it’s Indigenous people. The work Raqual does alings deeply with who I am. 

In her and all that she does, I see a mirror of myself. 

The authenticity of the food and how that showcases the real food of Mexico, is such a powerful artform to connect with people.

The curation of the music is world class. Music should be a full body, soul and mind experience. This is what the music at Mahico offers. It’s the medicine of dance, culture and community.

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