Celebrating NAIDOC Week

Corinna Eccles joins children in the Juna (white cockatoo) dance. (Ivan Kemp) 417727_09

A free family-friendly event in Ocean Grove recognised and celebrated the cultural heritage of First Nations people.

NAIDOC Week on the Barwon Coast was held at Mick’s Steps at 10am on Monday, July 8, and featured a Welcome to Country, Traditional Smoking Ceremony and a didgeridoo performance.

Wadawurrung Woman and Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Corporation Cultural Strengthening general manager Corrina Eccles said NAIDOC Week (July 7 to 14) was a time to reflect on the “strong voice and advocacy of Elders”.

“This event, like NAIDOC events around the country, aims to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their culture,” she said.

“It is time we ask all to show recognition and deeply celebrate the longest-living bloodlines, continuing cultural traditions and resilience of First Peoples.

“The NAIDOC Week theme this year is ‘keep the fire burning, loud, blak and proud’, and this event is an example of a meaningful collaboration with Barwon Coast walking beside us.”

Barwon Coast Committee of Management chair Sandy Gatehouse said she respected and honoured the strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“We commit to uplifting Wadawurrung voices and working together to keep Wadawurrung Coastal Country healthy,” she said.

“Barwon Coast keeps the fire burning by ensuring that coastal Country is protected so these places can be enjoyed by future generations.

“This could be through returning language to Country, like the naming of Bukareeyoo last year, or by working together to consult around how we care for the coast and by facilitating cultural education sessions for our staff.”

Minister for Treaty and First Peoples Natalie Hutchins said NAIDOC Week was a chance to celebrate the spirit of First Peoples and their contribution to Victoria.

“I encourage all Victorians to check out what NAIDOC activities are happening in their local communities, to join in and walk with First Peoples as we ‘keep the fire burning’,” she said.

“This NAIDOC Week, I’m excited to see events happening in local communities right across Victoria. This celebration of culture is great to see, and I encourage all Victorians to get involved.”