NAIDOC Week (2-9 July) in the Riverland kicked off on a sunny Sunday (and cold) morning with a Church Service at Gerard. RASA had the pleasure of being able to be involved in preparing morning tea and lunch for about 40 attendees. It was a wonderful event to be involved in and the community was exceptionally welcoming. The service started following a Smoking Ceremony from Uncle Barney Lindsay and concluded with lunch and conversation.
Monday morning was the annual NAIDOC March through the streets of Berri. This year was easily the biggest march in recent times – over 250 people walked together through the streets of Berri. All of the Riverland staff were able to attend this year and our Aboriginal colleague, Mike Harris was again the MC for this year’s event. Even on a cold morning, there was warm applause as Mike welcomed all the proud and deserving winners of the NAIDOC Week Awards.
There were a number of other community sponsored events throughout the Riverland during the rest of the week – RASA again supported and was involved with staff and activities at the NAIDOC Family Fun Day at the Berri Oval on what was the last official day of NAIDOC Week in the Riverland. This event was a great community event, lots of fun and games and RASA staff had a wonderful opportunity to get involved in the community.
NAIDOC Week 2017 was a great celebration in the Riverland of Aboriginal culture and community. This year we wanted to do more than just sponsor events; we wanted to be involved in person and together with the community. The three events we participated in were all different celebrations but they highlighted the importance of the community and we felt very privileged to be able to share in this. We would like to acknowledge Sam Mitchell from Accare and his organizing committee for their great work in pulling everything together.