Family-friendly celebration to launch NAIDOC Week in Albany

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
SAC's Asha Bhat, Oscar Colbung and Lynette Bolton.
Camera IconSAC's Asha Bhat, Oscar Colbung and Lynette Bolton. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Albany is gearing up to celebrate the culture, history and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people next week, with a family-friendly event to kick off NAIDOC Week festivities.

Usually held in July, NAIDOC Week was pushed back until November 8-15 this year because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Albany’s Southern Aboriginal Corporation will open the festivities with a community celebration at Town Square on Sunday.

With activities including an elders’ yarning circle and Noongar dance performance, the day will be an opportunity to discover the rich stories and arts keeping Menang culture thriving.

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This year’s theme of “Always was, always will be” recognises that First Nations people have occupied the continent for more than 65,000 years as one of the oldest continuing cultures on Earth.

SAC chief executive Asha Bhat said NAIDOC Week was an opportunity for everyone to celebrate.

“This year, more than ever, the community needs to come together to celebrate as the community have gone through tough times due to COVID-19 lockdown and isolation,” she said.

“In 2020, First Nations Australians drew breath as the world stopped for the Black Lives Matters movement.

“NAIDOC Week celebrates Indigenous Australian culture, history, and accomplishments.

“Strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people is vital for creating a more welcoming and inclusive community.”

SAC’s Oscar Colbung said education was key to keep culture alive.

“It is our responsibility to keep passing on our knowledge to younger generations to keep the culture alive,” he said.

“We have got to keep on educating and handing down our cultural knowledge to wider community and younger generations.

“Naturally, this is incredibly important to Aboriginal people to be kept alive and handed down through the generations.”

The NAIDOC Week opening ceremony is open to all and will start in Albany’s Town Square at 10am on Sunday.

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