2000 Aboriginal kids & their families from over 30 schools celebrate 12th annual NAIDOC Cup

On Tuesday 20th June at the Hunter Fields in Emu Plains over 2000 Aboriginal kids and their families from more than 30 schools attended the 12th Annual NAIDOC Cup, a celebration gala day combining sports, culture, and connection to country. Students attended from schools from the lower mountains to Mt Druitt. In addition, we had 200 high school students from a number of local high schools, who have been participating in NAIDOC Cup since they were in primary school, come back every year and help us to run the event. They help with umpiring and refereeing the Oztag and Netball competitions, delivering food to the students and a part of the logistics of running such a huge event!

On the day we had a huge sand circle which we drop onto the Hunter Fields to create a major focus of the day where we hold an important welcome opening ceremony that involves Aboriginal Elders and Cultural leaders. The children get to watch and participate in dances from various Aboriginal tribal nations. The NICE circle with Evans High School and Eastern Creek High School hosted Jessy’s Nulungu Dreaming and Kooly Deadly Kids Dance crew alongside of Doondoch South Coast dancers. NCNS Team Leader Aboriginal & Youth Projects, Bronwyn Nuttall, exclaimed, “Watching the different corroborees from different nations was so powerful!”

After the welcome and opening ceremony, we all break off. The joeys go to have lunch and the Oz-tag and Netball competition commences. After lunch the 900 joeys, who are the younger children who are not participating in the sports competitions begin a round robin of traditional Indigenous games, cultural workshops including firestick practice, didge, artifacts and art, lots of dance as well as cultural art and craft. The traditional Indigenous games is always a hugr hit as the kids get to burn off some of that excited energy by playing some incredibly fun games!

The day is not possible without our partners JK Williams, Westfield, Platform and the Emu Plains Lions Club. Thank you so much to our partners. The support of the schools has made this event one of the most important dates on the calendar for Aboriginal kids across the Nepean area. The day is so important as it is one of the few times that Aboriginal kids can get together and celebrate their culture, connection to country, each other and to kin and spend time with Aboriginal Elders and cultural leaders in a relaxed and informal setting. This is such an important day for our community.

Congratulations to the winners of the Netball competition Whalan Public School and to the winners of the Oz-tag Competition Cambridge Gardens Public School!

We look forward to seeing you all next year!

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