Always Was. Always Will BeNAIDOC Week 2020
NAIDOC Week has always been about highlighting my Indigenous culture and being proud of who I am and where I am from as a Gunditjmara, Yorta Yorta and Wamba Wamba man.
I remember as a young child during NAIDOC Week, travelling to Melbourne from Heywood to attend the NAIDOC marches. Starting at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service in Fitzroy and marching along the street with all my family and friends, protesting for a better future for our people and finishing the marches at Parliament House. Now I attend these NAIDOC marches with my children and I love seeing them join in the chants along the way, Always Was, Always Will Be Aboriginal Land.
I then remember as a teenager every NAIDOC Week we would travel to different schools and events to perform our traditional dances and songs with my family. We would share our culture with other non-indigenous people. I felt very proud sharing my culture of the little knowledge I had at the time. I now know we have the oldest living culture in the world and we must protect and preserve this culture.
As I got older and attended more NAIDOC events, the one event that stands out the most was attending the National NAIDOC Ball last year in Canberra and the Victorian NAIDOC Ball in Melbourne. These events are so well put together with some of the best Indigenous entertainment you will ever see.
This year for NAIDOC Week at Brighton Grammar, we invited Steve Parker who is a traditional owner of the Boonwurrung people of the Kulin Nation who performed a Welcome to Country and a Smoking Ceremony for our students and staff. I also proudly raised the Aboriginal flag with my son Mara as part of our NAIDOC Celebrations.