OUR LANGUAGES MATTER: Naidoc Jamison Park

Our cultural tent, was once again, a big hit, buzzing with activity and celebrating Aboriginal culture, during the NAIDOC Week event, at Jamison Park last Friday.

Tracey taught children the art of weaving. Rows of furrowed brows, fixated on winding and weaving twine between sticks, gasped with delight, as the materials in their hands, suddenly transformed into baskets.

Absorbed in the didgeridoo workshop, a crowd of boys and young men, grinned with satisfaction as they felt the vibrations echo through the bottom of the didgeridoo.

It was a vibrant, harmonious setting, as girls with clapsticks, struck one stick against the other while the soothing hum of didgeridoos filled the room.

Community members appeared curious, at the sight of Aboriginal artifacts, learning about and connecting with their heritage.

Families were entertained by Aboriginal dance and songs provided by Koomurri. (WATCH the video above!)

Although the day was celebratory, the importance of this year’s theme, ‘Our Languages Matter’ provoked emotion from the community. Over 50 Aboriginal languages in NSW have been lost due to government policies in the 1970’s that banned and discouraged Aboriginal people from speaking their language. Language is critical to Aboriginal Culture and identity.

During the day, our staff had a yarn with many members of the Aboriginal community who shared their stories:

“Our languages were stolen, they became hidden and only spoken indoors, in the home. Younger generations have an opportunity to be proud and we want more chances to learn.”

What does this year’s theme about language mean to you?

“It means nothing because we weren’t allowed to speak our language. We were brought up to think it was wrong.”

This lady has taught her son that language and culture is something to be proud of!

“Language is an integral part of Aboriginal culture, I am proud to say I know certain words in my traditional language and will continue to learn in the future and teach the future generations of my family!”

This year’s theme was an empowering message for the Aboriginal Community and it is so important that we continue to celebrate Aboriginal culture long after NAIDOC Week is over.

Check out more stories and insights from the day on our Facebook page!