All Invited to Celebrate NAIDOC Week (GM Column 6 July 2019)

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Performers from the Wajaarr Ngaarlu Dancers helped officially launch NAIDOC Week 2019

Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life.

The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support our local Aboriginal community here on Gumbaynggirr Country.

As part of NAIDOC Week celebrations, Council and the Yandaarra Aboriginal Consultative Committee hold the Grace Roberts Community Development Awards​ to acknowledge individuals who, like Grace Roberts, have made a significant contribution to enhancing the quality of life of Aboriginal people in the Coffs Harbour area.

Each year the Coffs Harbour area also enjoys a full week of NAIDOC activities, entertainment, culture and Aboriginal heritage. A calendar of events is coordinated by CHASE (Coffs Harbour Aboriginal Social Events), and planned with associated organisations and agencies. The events cover sport, food, art and culture and are open to the whole Coffs Harbour community.

The official start of the Week is marked by a Flag Raising Ceremony at Council on Monday, July 8, at 9.30am to which everyone is invited. The ceremony will also feature a performance by the Wajaar Ngaarlu Dancers and children from the Kulai Preschool. This will be followed by Morning Tea in the Norm Jordan Function Rooms at the Showground with kids’ activities, a yarning circle, performances and information stalls.

Aboriginal Cultural Awareness and Engagement Guide

Appropriately at this time of year, Council recently put out for public consultation a Draft Aboriginal Cultural Awareness and Engagement Guide, developed to assist Councillors, staff and volunteers to provide a consistent and respectful approach to engaging with the Aboriginal community.

‘Yandaarra – Shifting Camp Together’ advocates a collaborative approach towards the protection of Aboriginal culture in the local government area and helps provide social and cultural understanding by acknowledging and celebrating Aboriginal perspectives and world views.

It was developed by Murawin Consulting, a majority Indigenous-owned consultancy firm based on the Mid North Coast. Consultations were undertaken by Murawin with local Aboriginal Elders, community members and Aboriginal organisations, the Yandaarra Aboriginal Advisory Committee and Council staff.

The draft guide outlines useful information that can be used when consulting and working with local Aboriginal communities including:

  • The Gumbaynggirr nation and Aboriginal identity.
  • Significant ceremonies, dates and events.
  • Cultural practices and considerations (including Welcome to Country and Acknowledgements).
  • Community engagement protocols.

The Draft Guide is available on Council’s Have Your Say website – haveyoursay.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au with printed copies on display at Council’s Customer Service Centre and local libraries. The consultation is open until July 17.

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