Wimmera NAIDOC Week celebrations 2016

CELEBRATING CULTURE: Max Coleman dancing at the NAIDOC Week launch at Wesley PAC. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

CELEBRATING CULTURE: Max Coleman dancing at the NAIDOC Week launch at Wesley PAC. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

NAIDOC Week saw a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture across the Wimmera. 

Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Co-operative chairman John Gorton said the celebration was important for indigenous and non-indigenous Australians alike. 

“It’s about getting people to understand and learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture,” he said. 

“To understand what it means to Aboriginal people, look at the local people here.

“A lot of history has been lost by not being able to continue traditions and customs.

“People have been removed from their country and place, through that we lost language, and many stories.

“For indigenous people, it’s an important time to promote what we do and our culture.

“For non-indigenous people, I think it’s about learning and appreciating and being part of the experience.”

Mr Gorton said NAIDOC Week celebrations were open to the wider community, regardless of race.

“It’s not just about Aboriginal people getting together to do meet and greets. We also want non-indigenous people to come and learn and have a good time,” he said. 

This year’s national NAIDOC Week focused on the importance of songlines, the living narrative of the country.

Mr Gorton said across Australian there were many different indigenous cultures, each with their own stories and songlines. 

“Songlines are important to maintain connections and to continue traditions,” he said. 

The celebration started on July 3 with events running until July 9. 

In the Wimmera, the week started with a meet the artist event featuring Gail Harradine on July 3, ahead of the official opening on July 4. 

The opening featured a smoking ceremony, performances by the Wotjobaluk traditional dancers and the Bangarra dancers, and video of the Art Is… Tchingal production. 

Tuesday saw children and elders gather to make decorations for Saturday’s Dimboola cabaret, followed by an elders lunch in Horsham ahead of Wednesday’s screening of Seven Sisters: Seeing the Land.

Horsham Town Hall hosted a movie night on Thursday and youth activities ran Friday. The celebrations closed with a cabaret at Dimboola Memorial Secondary College.

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