Wild Blak Arts – Harvesting Roadkill

Wild Blak Arts: Celebrating Culture is a project between Taungurung woman Cassie Leatham and PeeKdesigns. We are privileged to be on this journey with Cassie.

Driving along the road it is hard for Cassie to not stop at every animal that has been killed by a vehicle. Animal fur, feathers and bones are an important part of creating artefacts and celebrating her culture. Sometimes, if fresh enough, Cassie will also harvest the meat for a meal – snake it her favourite.

We stop at a recently hit emu. There were no visible signs of blood and the carcass is still warm. Cassie grabs bags and a pair of scissors to collect emu feathers that she will use to create a traditional dancing skirt and other gifts.

As she completes this task she is visibly upset and moved by the death of this poor creature, stroking it and thanking the spirit of the emu for the gifts it is providing in the form of feathers. It truly is a memorable sight to witness.

After gathering the feathers, Cassie drags the carcass off the side of the road so that it can be at rest and not be run over anymore by passing vehicles. She covers the eyes and neck with leaves as a burial, once again thanks the spirit of the emu for her gifts and sings for the spirit so it can pass into Dreamtime.

“I’m always respectful of the animals and I will respect this emu by cleansing and using the feathers to make a meaningful artefact for the Baradine community.”


N.B. Cassie has a license to harvest plants and animals for cultural purposes. The collection of native animals is actually illegal without a permit.