Welcome to country, our retreat and Aunty Ros!
Posted by Katie Brown, 03-Oct-2022
At the start of our retreat you’ll experience an intimate and inspiring Welcome to Country with IYTA yoga teacher and Dharug elder, Ros Fogg.
We chatted to Ros to discover a bit more about her fascinating heritage…
Ros is the Chairperson for the Muru Mlttigar Aboriginal Cultural Centre and her rich personal family history pre-dates colonisation.
She is a descendant of the Elder and respected, clever man Yarramundi. Maria (Yarramundi’s daughter) was one of the first Aboriginal girls to be educated in Australia.
Gomebeeree, Yarramundi and Maria (whose Aboriginal name is unknown) were part of the Boorooberongal Clan of the Dharug Nation – among the first impacted and displaced Aboriginal Countries (mobs) in Australia.
In fact the Dharug people were forbidden by the British colonisers to speak their own language or practice traditional culture – instead they were forced to learn English. As their stories weren’t documented it meant it only took a couple of generations for the language and much of their rich culture to be almost lost.
Growing up, Ros was aware of her strong Aboriginal heritage but not inclined to admit to it due to the prejudice and ignorance in Australia at that time.
Ros remembers in her Social Studies classes that the Aboriginal People clans were often compared to the Stone Age people and there were connotations they were backward.
Thankfully there has been a shift in recent years in the understanding and Acknowledgment of the Aboriginal people, being able to stand up and be recognised as the First people of Australia and hence the true and rightful owners of this country.
And Ros has been able to celebrate and share her family history.
As well as being involved with the Muru MIttigar Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Ros has been part of consultancy work for several large projects on Dharug Country, such as the Sydney Metro and the NSW Department of Education.
She’s also done many Welcome to Country ceremonies – including opening the IYTA’s 50thanniversary event in 2017.
Ros’ adult children are all involved and contribute to maintaining the Dharug culture on Country. Her eldest son, Brad has been working to revitalise the Dharug language for the past 15 years.
Ros says: “We know certain words from the language, but it will never be totally resurrected as too many generations were banned from being able to speak it.”
When Ros leads the Welcome to Country she will explain the difference between a Welcome and an Acknowledgment and explain how we as yoga teachers can do a genuineAcknowledgment of Country. She’ll be able to explain more of her rich family heritage to promote understanding and education.
As a yoga teacher she is also able to help us integrate the rich history of the land we all call home with inspiration and optimism for the future for our students.