Guest Article - Bindi Bindi Dreaming


In Noongar, Bindi Bindi means butterfly and over the past 17 years Marissa Verma has literally seen her business Bindi Bindi Dreaming take wings and fly. The idea for the business came when Marissa was working at Conservation and Land Management’s Aboriginal Heritage Unit and was giving talks to raise awareness about Noongar culture and history. Her manager then suggested setting up a business on the weekends to continue sharing our culture. From there, demand grew and it grew wings to become a thriving business.

Marissa offers a range of Noongar cultural experiences including bush tucker walks, a catering service that uses traditional herbs, spices and ingredients, cultural learning journeys, a women’s cultural workshop and an education program for school students. She says the school program keeps her busy, with her presentations aligning with the curriculum, so it teaches students about Noongar history, culture, language and song and dance. She says the kids love it because they’ve grown up learning about our culture in a more positive way. On the other hand, she says that a growing number seniors are interested in learning more about Noongar culture because it wasn’t something they were taught at school, she describes it as a re-education process.

Another very popular service is the catering business which offers everything from kangaroo meatballs with bush tomato seasoning, chicken with lemon myrtle, eggs with saltbush, wattleseed cakes, using pepperberry and rivermint, there’s also damper served with either quandong, wild lime, rosella flower and wild plum jam.

Bindi Bindi Dreaming was a finalist in the 2015 Belmont Small Business Awards and Marissa also told me she just won Business of the Year Award 2017 for this year’s Perth NAIDOC Awards, which is a great recognition for the good work the organisation does in continuing to share our culture to the wider community.

Marissa loves the joy of having genuine conversations with people about Noongar culture because they learn something, pass it on to someone else, who then passes it on. Part of that passing of knowledge includes tours at significant sites within the metropolitan area where she teaches people about the Noongar connections to the land and the importance of plants, not just as food but also bush medicine. She says it’s about connecting people to country and giving them a better understanding about what’s growing in their own neighbourhood and their own garden. How they too can play an important role in continuing to grow our native plants and then pick them later to eat.

And Bindi Bindi Dreaming’s reputation is growing, in October Marissa been invited to continue to share our culture with the delegates from this year’s Swedish Women Education Conference, taking 60 female conference delegates who are coming to Perth from Sweden on a two-day Noongar cultural awareness tour - the home of Ikea meets West Australian Indigenous culture. Should be a very interesting and informative couple of days.

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Tony Monaghan - The Brand Agency 

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