Surfing for understanding

First Nations panellists have reflected their deep connections with Sea Country through surfing with a NAIDOC Week event.

NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week runs from July 7 to 14 and recognises First Nations’ history, culture and achievements.

Surf Coast Shire Council celebrated the week with a Spirit in Surfing presentation on Wadawurrung Country at Torquay’s Australian National Surfing Museum on July 10.

The presentation featured panellists Wadawurrung Woman Corrina Eccles, Munna Munna Man Jordie Campbell and Wiradjuri Woman Jessi Rebel, discussing the week’s theme, ‘Keep the Fire Burning! Blak, Loud and Proud’.

Councillor Libby Stapleton said the more people knew about NAIDOC Week and Sea Country, “the better Loud and Proud allies” everyone would be.

“This Spirit in Surfing forum provided rich insights across a range of cultural themes in a warm, informal and personal way,” she said.

“NAIDOC Week is a time to recognise and celebrate the culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to deeply listen and learn.

“I am sure everyone who attended left feeling better educated and with a greater sense of what connection to Country, Reconciliation and self-determination for First Nations people means.”

Each panellist also expanded on what this year’s NAIDOC theme meant to them and talked about an image with special personal meaning, which was shared on a big screen in the museum.