Traditional smoking ceremony a popular addition to Aberdeen Public School's NAIDOC celebrations

MORE than 200 students, teachers and staff “spiritually cleansed themselves” on Tuesday by participating in a “smoking ceremony” at the Aberdeen Public School.

As part of NAIDOC Week celebrations, Ochre Opportunity Hub Upper Hunter program mentor Jacob Ellis joined a handful of youngsters to present a number of cultural dances to the pupils at an earlier assembly.

And, while the kids loved the specially-prepared routines and the stories behind them, it was the smoking ceremony, which peaked their interest the most.

World-renowned didgeridoo performer Richie Lawton added to the traditional atmosphere, too.

“I love visiting the schools in the region, sharing my ancestor’s beliefs and values,” Mr Ellis said.

“The smoking ceremony allows people a chance to get rid of any bad energy.

“That way they can focus on the good stuff.”

Mr Ellis will conduct a similar ritual at Muswellbrook South Public School on Friday morning.