By Danielle Kutchel
Hundreds of people have let their voices be heard at NAIDOC events around Greater Dandenong this week.
NAIDOC Week is celebrated annually in the first full week of July and recognises the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is ’Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s work together for a shared future’.
In 2017, Greater Dandenong was home to approximately 491 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents, and the Bunurong, Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung peoples are the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which the municipality sits.
A council-hosted local NAIDOC event on Tuesday July 9 saw around 450 people flock to Harmony Square to be part of the celebrations.
The Welcome to Country was performed by respected elder and proud Wurundjeri woman Aunty Pat Ockwell, and the Indigenous Hip Hop Projects group and SOJU Gang DJ Skye Thomas entertained the crowd.Elsewhere, emergency services joined forces at the NAIDOC Week 2019 Children’s Day, held at Greaves Reserve.
Aboriginal cultural displays, activities and dancing were all part of the fun, allowing children to learn more about the world’s oldest living civilisation.
The CFA, Victoria Police, SES attended the event, which was hosted by the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency and the Dandenong and District Aborigines Cooperative.
In 2017 the City of Greater Dandenong adopted the Reconciliation Action Plan 2017-19, which promotes reconciliation in the Greater Dandenong community. The plan aims to work in partnership with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to improve the health and wellbeing, educational and employment outcomes of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, as well as promote social inclusion and engagement within the city.