As NAIDOC Week comes to a close, we reflect on some of the celebrations MacKillop staff have been part of over the past week.
NAIDOC Week recognises one of the world’s oldest living culture. But more than that, it celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
MacKillop is committed to working with Aboriginal people and communities to ensure the families, children and young people we support are safe and remain connected to their culture and country.
In bringing this commitment to life, MacKillop hosted and participated in a variety of events across Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia to mark NAIDOC Week.
Almost 30 MacKillop staff from across Victoria took part in the Darebin Spiritual Healing Trail on Tuesday. Uncle Trevor led the group through the Darebin Parklands, sharing cultural reflections on personal wellbeing along with insights into local Aboriginal history and culture. The group paused along the trail to take in a traditional smoking ceremony and taste native grasses.
Victorian staff also joined thousands of others in the annual NAIDOC March. Each year MacKillop attends this significant event to show support for Aboriginal self-determination, community and our commitment to Aboriginal Reconciliation.
Our Melton team took part in a community event hosted by the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency. They connected to other Aboriginal services in the Melton area and shared resources and information about our services to local families who were seeking assistance but did not know where to look. They also ran creative activities such as pet rock making which were very well received.
In NSW, staff in Bateman’s Bay enjoyed a full day of cultural activities, led by an Aboriginal staff member. Two separate activities were organised for the day, with the men’s group making artefacts while the women weaved baskets and dilly bags. Both groups joined throughout the day to share homemade damper and experiences to ensure they ‘work together for a shared future’.
Staff in Sydney also took part in the annual gathering at Jamison Park, where they held a stall to connect with other agencies and the broader community.
In rural NSW, MacKillop was successful in obtaining grants to support NAIDOC activities in several locations.
Our Gidgee Preschool joined with Weilmoringle Public School where children interacted with the older students, Aboriginal Elders and the broader community. Weilmoringle students came to Gidgee where they helped build an emu nest and painted their own foam egg to place in the nest to represent their family. All children engaged in painting a canvas to be placed on the preschool wall that represents their culture and land. The event concluded in tree planting and community BBQ which was enjoyed by everyone.
In Brewarrina, our team partnered with the Brewarrina Central School to contribute to the Gathering Day by running the BBQ for community members to enjoy. They also teamed up with local Aboriginal artist Morris Sullivan to host a yarn about the creation of a mural.
In Western Australia, staff in Port Hedland held stalls at several community events hosted by Hedland Senior High School, Rose Nowers Early Learning Centre, the Youth Involvement Council and Wirraka Maya Aboriginal Medical Service. They also facilitated painting activities for children and families and support local Aboriginal artists and elders throughout the week.
These events were a fantastic opportunity for all MacKillop staff to celebrate NAIDOC with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the communities where we work.