Local, Independant and Effective

NAIDOC Week in Indi: bringing communities together

Posted July 11, 2014



Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, said NAIDOC Week recognition in Indi was growing. She acknowledged the commitment of groups and community elders who keep the proud culture and history alive through stories, art and activities.

“I want to thank the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of Indi for creating wonderful NAIDOC events. These programs bring people together to celebrate and just as importantly, to educate. These events strengthen our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and informing the wider community of Indi.”

Ms McGowan said the NAIDOC week theme - ‘Serving Country: Centenary and Beyond’ – brought together the knowledge of Country and Culture, and the past, the present and the future.

“Across Australia, communities are sharing that same focus. As we approach the centenary of the beginning of World War One, Australia now also recognises the previously ‘hidden’ service of  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women,” Ms McGowan said.

The sacrifice made one hundred years ago by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women—people who at that time were not provided with the right to vote for a government that had declared war—was a powerful indicator of the sense of duty and belonging felt by those who enlisted.  

“This has shaped Australia to our present and will continue to do so,” she said.

Ms McGowan said a unique and shared heritage and culture; explaining, sharing, nurturing, respecting and protecting that heritage and culture, are tasks that fall to us all.

While government at all levels plays a role, these responsibilities in the end fall to us through our own communities and our own people, working through our service clubs, heritage groups, and community organisations.

In celebrating NAIDOC week, it was exciting to see the Gadhaba (meaning Together) Local Indigenous Network present a significant mural to the Mansfield community yesterday. The mural illustrates the role of language, culture and community connection of the Taungurung people.

“The mural was such a generous gift to the Mansfield community, and I hope this important project becomes a model to all of Indi,” Ms McGowan said.

Ms McGowan also attended a youth workshop in Mansfield to see local indigenous and non-indigenous youth performing original rap and hip hop and dance.

“It’s wonderful to see the kids not only embracing their culture but also creating their own. This means there will be a blend of all the different aspects of aboriginal culture, making it a vibrant part of our communities,” Ms McGowan said.

Tomorrow is the Dirrawarra Indigenous Network NAIDOC event in Wangaratta and Ms McGowan is honoured to have been invited to give a speech as part of the celebration.

IMAGE: Cathy McGowan, Tandy Annuscheit, Deanne Eccles, Uncle Roy Patterson, Chris Thorne, Desiree Walker and DEPI cultural heritage officer Michael Sherwen in front of the GLIN mural presented to Mansfield Shire yesterday.

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