Celebrating NAIDOC Week: Always Was, Always Will Be.
Last week, Tenant Advocates joined in NAIDOC Week 2020 celebrations across NSW – in person and online.
Western Aboriginal Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service (WATAAS) participated in the Dubbo NAIDOC event. They provided resources and information, and talked about how WATAAS supports the community with tenancy matters.
Greater Sydney Aboriginal Tenants Service (GSATS) attended a NAIDOC celebration at Sydney Zoo and provided information and resources to community members. GSATS Tenant Advocate Samantha Nicholls writes:
"It was very spiritual, uplifting, and emotional – we absolutely loved it. The smoking ceremony was performed by the Aboriginal cultural team at the zoo.
"There were Aboriginal people from Bourke, Lightning Ridge, Brewarrina, Perth, Melbourne – people from all over.
"It was a lovely day and it was good to see all cultures happy to celebrate as one and want to know about our culture and cultural practices.
"It was really touching watching young Aboriginal men and women coming together to showcase how proud we are as Aboriginal people, and to share such a powerful knowledge we have as First Nations people. There were comments from non-Aboriginal people saying that we as a minority are so gifted with knowledge to still be here after all the adversity and struggles we have faced in the past and continue to face now."
Tenants' Union staff watched Mparntwe: Sacred Sites, a documentary looking at the sacred sites in and around Mparntwe in Central Australia, and the struggle of the Arrernte people to identify, document and preserve these sites in the face of urban expansion.
National NAIDOC Week is a celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The theme of NAIDOC this year was "Always Was. Always Will Be."
The National NAIDOC committee writes:
"Regardless of when it is celebrated NAIDOC Week is an event of national importance for all Australians.
"A week borne from a day of protest, NAIDOC Week each year reminds us of the ongoing aspirations of our communities as they continue the movement towards justice and equality.
"Importantly, NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to come together to celebrate not only Indigenous achievement but the history, rich culture, and survival of the oldest continuing living culture on the planet.
"Always Was, Always Will Be recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
"We want all Australians to celebrate that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were Australia’s first explorers, first navigators, first engineers, first farmers, first botanists, first scientists, first diplomats, first astronomers and first artists.
"That this county has the world’s oldest oral stories, the world’s first maps, and the earliest paintings of ceremony."