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NAIDOC 2018: Celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture

Staff at The George Institute Australia celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture at its annual NAIDOC celebration on July 10, 2018. Celebrations included a performance by the Wodi Wodi group, a bush tucker luncheon by Sandpiper Catering, bush medicine demonstration by Chris Moore and a live art installation from Saltwater Dreamtime.

Project Officer Julieann Coombes and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program Manager Keziah Bennett-Brook kicked off the formalities by unveiling the Institute’s new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags. The audience were then privileged to have two speeches from inspiring Aboriginal women, Elder Aunty Joan Tranter and Vickie Parry, Chairperson of the Yerin Central Coast Aboriginal Health Services.

The theme of this year’s NAIDOC celebrations “Because of Her We Can” recognises the invaluable contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have made and continue to make within communities and to our rich history as a nation.

The Wodi Wodi all girls group reflected this theme and performed a traditional dance and sang in Aboriginal language.

“This was the biggest and best NAIDOC event we have had yet,” said Julieann Coombes.

“The recognition from the Institute around the importance of celebrating NAIDOC is really important to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, the communities we work in partnership with and for all those working within the space.”

Keziah Bennett-Brook chaired the event and said, “I feel lucky to work alongside a team of inspiring and dedicated people, whether it be researchers, students or professional staff, who are committed to recognising and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.”

“The research conducted as part of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program forms a really important part of the mission here at The George Institute, so it’s wonderful to have had significant support both in the lead up to today’s event and also reflected in the unprecedented turnout.”

The event closed with the raffle of two artworks, with money being raised for the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE), a Redfern-based not-for-profit social enterprise that aims to build capability and create opportunities with and for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. A total of $491 was raised for NCIE.

Keziah added, “The George Institute was delighted to host two representatives from the NCIE, Aunty Beryl Van-Oploo and Clare McHugh to be a part of our celebrations and to help draw the winning tickets.”

This event was organised by The George Institute’s NAIDOC committee.