NAIDOC 2019 – Celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture

Last week the Sydney office held its annual special event to celebrate NAIDOC Week in Australia. The event started off with a warm Welcome to Country by Uncle Chicka Madden.

Guest speaker Ken Zulumovski; from Gamarada, then spoke in detail about the theme of this year’s NAIDOC Week which was ‘Voice, Treaty, Truth’. A descendant of the Kabi Kabi nation, Ken’s presentation explored issues surrounding the importance of language, country and history to reconciliation through ‘Makarrata’ – where two parties come together after a conflict to recognise something wrong has been done. He emphasised the need to put Makarrata into action locally to build more meaningful community engagement, as well as stressing the importance of optimism in the reconciliation process to know that growth and transformation is possible no matter the circumstance.

Program Manager of the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Program Keziah Bennett-Brook emceed the event while Program Co-Lead ​Tamara ​​Mackean read out the Uluru Statement from the Heart and explored issues around the role The George might play in positively contributing to the dialogue around constitutional recognition. 

To wrap up proceedings, Senior Research Fellow Kate Hunter gave a moving speech as she accepted the inaugural NAIDOC Award before staff enjoyed a delicious lunch catered by the Sand Piper Native Infused Foods Company. Kangaroo lasagne, lemon myrtle cheese cake and crocodile sausages were just a few of the highlights.

There was also an engaging, vivid photo exhibition in the reception area documenting the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in the local area, a basket weaving workshop, and handmade jewellery and raffle tickets on sale to raise funds for the Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation