Jul 10 2017
NAIDOC Week has been a hive of activity in the Shire of Ashburton as local communities have joined in the celebrations of culture, history and achievements of Australia’s Indigenous people.
This year, the NAIDOC celebration theme centered on language and the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and the preservation of history, spirituality and rites through story and song.
Shire President Kerry White reiterated the importance of NAIDOC as a time to join together to celebrate the history and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
“Presenting the wider community with the opportunity to learn more about, and experience, Indigenous culture is important to keeping traditions and history alive,” said Cr White. “It was wonderful to see so many people of all ages participating in the wide variety of events and activities held across the week.”
Working in partnership with Rio Tinto and local traditional owners, the Shire hosted many activities, providing engaging opportunities to learn and experience Indigenous culture.
Welcome to Country smoking ceremonies, music and dance, traditional food showcase and storytelling attracted community participation throughout the week. Residents of all cultural backgrounds enjoyed gathering around the fire pits and tasting billy tea, damper and kangaroo stew, as well as learning more about language and history through storytelling and the variety of local Indigenous entertainment.
Rio Tinto general manager Communities and Communications Linda Dawson said NAIDOC was integral in recognising and celebrating Indigenous traditions and achievements.
“NAIDOC celebrations are about coming together and celebrating Indigenous culture. These events in Pannawonica, Paraburdoo and Tom Price enable the community to get involved and learn more about Traditional Indigenous culture, hearing their stories and participating in their customs,” Ms Dawson said.
“It’s great to see local Indigenous groups and organisations working with the Shire of Ashburton to deliver events that showcase their proud and rich heritage.”
In Tom Price popular Indigenous musician Phil Walley-Stack performed to an enthusiastic crowd, followed by an inspiring fire dance presented by Marlon Cooke and a group of local community members.
Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation hosted a delicious luncheon for local Elders in Paraburdoo, followed by an evening of celebration and entertainment featuring the popular Derby Band.
Festivities in Pannawonica included live entertainment from The Red Ochre band as well as an interactive cultural performance by Mayaga Made and visual displays care of Parla Pooni and the Pannawonica Primary School. Pannawonica’s annual NAIDOC awards also celebrated this year’s worthy recipients.
Onslow residents enjoyed a NAIDOC darts competition at the Sports Club, with teams uniting for a weekend of friendly contest and camaraderie and the Red Ochre band keeping spectators entertained. Thalanyji Aboriginal Corporation kindly donated a selection of books to the Onslow Library, featuring an interesting range of fiction and non-fiction, some by indigenous authors and others about indigenous languages and culture throughout the country. These books are a welcomed addition to the library and provide a wide selection of knowledge and teachings to the community.
NAIDOC events are made possible through support from Rio Tinto, Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation, Gumala Aboriginal Corpor
ation, Aboriginal Biodiversity Conservation, Kuruma Marthudunera, Parla Pooni, IBN, Thalanyji Aboriginal Corporation, Banjima Country Management and Ashburton Aboriginal Cooperation. Mission Australia, Nintirri Neighbourhood Centre, Tom Price Cultural Centre, EPIS, Department of Child Protection, Coates Hire and the Onslow Sports Club also provided valuable assistance to ensure the success of NAIDOC week in each town.