By Evelyn Leckie
NAIDOC Week was celebrated across northern Victoria in Seymour and the City of Whittlesea last week – a week that celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements while incorporating the theme of ‘voice, truth and treaty.’
In Seymour, Taungurung man Shane Monk welcomed CFA members, police officers, army members, school children, Mitchell Shire councillors and Taungurung Land and Waters Council staff to Taungurung land and begun the morning with a cleansing smoking ceremony.
“Smoking ceremonies are performed whenever we have anyone travelling across our country – it cleanses their bodies, minds and spirits,” Mr Monk said.
The proud Taungurung man shared traditional customs – explaining that visiting family clans passing through their area would historically receive a message stick to prove they had been cleansed by Taungurung people as they passed through.
Community members participated in the cleansing ritual before the NAIDOC parade begun on McIntyre Street where the procession passed through the town into Kings Park.
In South Morang, Aboriginal cultural activities, stories, performances and didgeridoo playing filled the City of Whittlesea council halls.
Young children participated in face painting, learnt how to throw a boomerang and decorate clap sticks as part of the week that increases awareness in the wider community of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
Talented didgeridoo player Mitch Tambo from True Culture performed for the community with traditional music.
“It was a great opportunity for the community to learn more about us and show that we’re still here and the wider Australian community can be a part of that,” Mr Tanbo said.