July 5, 2023

This is NAIDOC Week

This week, we join the nation in celebrating NAIDOC Week – a time to honour and appreciate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The theme for this year is ‘For Our Elders’, which pays tribute to the Elders who have been our mentors, teachers, and role models, passing on their wisdom and cultural knowledge for generations.

Karen Bryant, Senior Aboriginal Liaison Officer, said, “NAIDOC Week for me is a time for all the mob to come together and celebrate our rich Aboriginal culture. We celebrate through song, dance, awards, acknowledgements, speeches, community events and marching for the rights of our people. Embracing our elders, sharing stories and attending as many events as possible.”

Our Narrun Wilip-giin, Aboriginal Support Unit, has displays at each site showcasing the stories of inspirational Elders. The displays also feature artwork by the children from Streeton Primary School in Yallambie, who painted their dreamtime stones to express their connections and meanings.

Sherrilyn Ballard, Consumer Participation Coordinator, and Toni Gabelish, Aboriginal Liaison Officer, visited the school and thanked the students and their teacher Jenny Donald. The children shared the symbols and stories behind their paintings and received Narrun Wilip-giin colouring books in return.

Teacher Jenny Donald, Learning Specialist at Streeton Primary School, said, “When you are welcomed into someone’s place you should acknowledge it and show respect for it. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have lived in Australia for many thousands of years. They have a very strong connection to their place. They call this connection ‘country’ and they share it with everyone. Each day we acknowledge the land on which we live, ‘Yallambie’ which is derived from an Aboriginal word ‘nglambi’, meaning ‘to rest’ or ‘remain’. We value inclusivity and talk daily about how we value others and accept our differences.”

Narrun Wilip-giin Aboriginal Liaison Officers Stephanie Thompson and Toni Gabelish interviewed Elders Nicole Bloomfield and Noel King, and created a video gallery as part of an online NAIDOC display.

“Our elders have a lot of wisdom and lived experience and that needs to be shared and nurtured down the line in order for our young to grow up strong with identity,” Nicole said.

Narrun Wilip-giin will be visiting Elders from the Wandarra group, an Aboriginal community organisation in Broadmeadows, to deliver dilly bags to acknowledge their wisdom, stories and contributions to community.

Narrun Wilip-giin has also put together a NAIDOC Week staff quiz that will test your knowledge and reward you with exciting prizes. Click here to take the quiz.

We invite staff to attend a NAIDOC Grand Rounds tomorrow, Thursday 6 July at 8 am. The event will feature guest speakers Andrew Morrison, Director of Victorian Aboriginal Health Service and Karinda Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of First Peoples’ Health and Wellbeing. Click here to join the Grand Rounds.

Tya Fry, Occupational Therapist, who is hosting a basket weaving workshop for Aboriginal women in the Aboriginal Cultural Space said, “NAIDOC to me is a time to come together and celebrate our history, culture and country. It’s a time to continue the ways of learning through yarning.”

Jason Cirone, Chief Allied Health Officer, said, “This week is a unique time in the year where we recognise nationally the rich history and contribution of our First Nations people. We have so much to learn from Aboriginal Elders, we need to build and maintain genuine opportunities to facilitate authentic discussions.”

Please find a NAIDOC Week Library Guide here.

Featured image: Toni Gabelish, Aboriginal Liaison Officer and Sherrilyn Ballard, Consumer Participation Coordinator with Streeton Primary School children and teacher Jenny Donald, Learning Specialist.