NASCA Students Return from TAFSIA Games (Jakarta)
In early October, an Australian delegation led by Aboriginal young people from Western Sydney returned from an international cultural...
NASCA celebrates Aboriginal cultures every day of the year”.
During NAIDOC week however, we are fortunate to get out and about, meet new people, talk about our work and celebrate 65,000 years of dance, music, rituals, relationships and stories.
This year’s theme of ‘Our Languages Matter’ brought to attention the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in forming the identity and culture of Indigenous Australians today. NASCA’s NAIDOC Week started in Hyde Park in the heart of Gadigal Country and finished in Redfern, a suburb acknowledged as the birthplace of urban Aboriginal activism and home to NASCA’s head office.
Torres Strait Islander Dancers in Hyde Park. Photo Courtesy of City of Sydney.
In the lead up to NAIDOC week we were proud to see a number of our young people (see below) win NAIDOC awards for showing a commitment to their culture, their schooling and continued growth as young people. This included kids across all of our programs in NSW from Western Sydney, to Inner Sydney and the Dubbo region winning a bunch of different awards categories. We are so proud of you guys and the hard work you continue to put in. We love working every day with all of you and seeing Aboriginal young people follow the dreams they have for themselves.
Hyde Park’s annual event attracted 8500 people over a 4 hour period on the first official day of NAIDOC week and was considered the biggest of its kind to date. Uncle Ray Davison did the customary Welcome To Country and Matty Doyle provided the smoking ceremony soon after. Thankfully the rain held off and literally hundreds of kids came to our stall to make their own Indigenous jewelry and play Traditional Indigenous Games (TIGS). Being in the heart of Sydney meant tourists and office workers alike were able to witness the colour and diversity of Indigenous cultures in the form of great music, amazing Indigenous-inspired food and a bunch of amazing interactive activities.
It was also great to have people from all over the world come and ask us about what we did, learn something new about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and see how these cultures continue to be celebrated. NASCA believes it is vitally important to have time set aside to celebrate First Nations cultures and achievements and provide opportunities for non-Indigenous Australians to join in these celebrations. If there is one thing we wish we could change about NAIDOC week is that we wish it lasted longer. There’s so much to be celebrated in terms of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievement, creativity and cultural continuity that is seems unfair that it tends to all be crammed into one week.
Lauren and Tom were in charge of running Traditional Indigenous Games on the Friday of NAIDOC Week at the NCIE.
On Friday at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, in the heart of Redfern we were able to continue to celebrate the strength of Indigenous cultures and connect with hundreds more people from across Australia. We were also provided enough space to run TIGs including a huge game of Buroinjin – a game played traditionally by the Kabi Kabi of South East Queensland – which was held in the centre of the main field. Approximately 40 boys and girls of all ages played this game that combines aspects of Netball and Rugby but out dates both sports by thousands of years. Tom and Lauren who work at NASCA’s Western Sydney YIPP Academy combined to support the game being played and said the game was played fairly and consistently for a full hour by approximately 20 kids.
NASCA hopes you enjoyed your NAIDOC week wherever you were and whatever you did. We look forward to next year’s festivities and hope this important part of the nation’s calendar continues to grow in popularity amongst all Australians.
James and Marianne take care of business at the NASCA stall.
Crowds gather at Hyde Park. Photo Courtesy of City of Sydney
Just two of the kids who used thousands of red,black and yellow beads to make bracelets and necklaces throughout NAIDOC Week.
Help young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders stay strong in their culture and identity.