NAIDOC Week is here again and it is worth remembering the important opportunity this annual cultural event offers to us all.
Here in the Goulburn Valley, NAIDOC presents community events revolving around sport and the arts that provides a chance for communities to come together and share stories and histories.
Events are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and we encourage everyone to join in and find an activity or a discussion that promotes awareness and positivity.
NAIDOC has roots in the protest movements of the 1920s when Aboriginal people first boycotted Australia Day observances.
Today NAIDOC presents a chance to focus on important issues facing indigenous communities, as well as the chance to celebrate achievements.
This year’s theme has several threads — voice, treaty, truth and working together.
NAIDOC 2019 coincides with the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages — so it presents a wonderful opportunity to share in the resurgence of our indigenous languages through performance, story and art.
Indigenous people also have lobbied for decades to have a voice in the democratic process of Australia.
Last year, the Victorian Government passed legislation to begin the process of establishing a treaty with our First Nations people.
We fully support this process if the end result is a clearer and stronger voice for indigenous people in our governments.
Our shared history has too often become clouded by a failure to understand and acknowledge the wrongs of the past.
We endorse the following 2019 NAIDOC Committee statement: ‘‘Lasting and effective agreement cannot be achieved unless we have a shared, truthful understanding of the nature of the dispute, of the history, of how we got to where we stand’’.
Finally, NAIDOC is about coming together in a spirit of celebration and respect.
We urge everyone to find a NAIDOC activity and join in.
Today there are activities at the Dharnya Centre Barmah, and the Bangerang Cultural Centre in Mooroopna.
Tomorrow sees a family fun day at Rumbalara, story telling at Ardmona Kidstown, a NAIDOC launch at GV Health and a discussion on the Cummeraguna Walk-Off at Kaiela Arts.
On Friday there will be tree-planting, again at the Bangerang Centre.
These are just some opportunities to join in, celebrate and discuss the richness of our indigenous culture.