More than 200 members of the community including school students and teachers joined members of the local Many Mobs group and fellow local Indigenous persons to walk the bridges as part of NAIDOC week’s connections bridge walk last Tuesday, June 26.
NAIDOC week is a week-long event to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the community.
This year the national theme of the week was ‘Because of her, we can!’, which celebrates the invaluable contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have made and continue to make to communities.
Last Tuesday, June 26 Yarrawonga Health together with local community group Many Mobs came together to celebrate the event in style.
Over 200 students and teachers from local primary schools and kindergartens, local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, along with staff and board members from Yarrawonga Health, united together to walk the Yarrawonga Mulwala Bridge, ending in a ceremony of celebration at Yarrawonga Health’s Hub lawn.
During the celebration ceremony the audience were treated with a dance performance by Brett Ross and local Aboriginal students as well as a Welcome to Country from Yorta Yorta Elder and Aboriginal Development Officer for the Njernda Aboriginal Corporation, Aunty Vicki Walker.
The ceremony was followed by a BBQ luncheon, and the community were encouraged to spend time together, yarning and sharing culture.
Operational Director of Community Services at Yarrawonga Health Stephanie Kennedy said the theme of the NAIDOC week celebrations nationwide was a well fitted theme for this year.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have been pillars of society for centuries, and continue to play active and significant roles in the community, local, state and national levels,” Ms Kennedy said.
“These women have fought and continue to fight for justice, equal rights, and rights to country, for law and justice, access to education, employment and to maintain and celebrate culture, language, music and art.”
CEO of Yarrawonga Health Elaine Mallows added to these comments saying Yarrawonga Health was proud of their relationship with Many Mobs and were optimistic in staying connected long into the future.
“We are incredibly proud of our continued support and affiliation with Many Mobs, and are passionate about celebrations like this as they offer an incredible opportunity for us to demonstrate our commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Ms Mellows said.
“It also demonstrates our universal cultural respect for everyone in our community from every culture, heritage and background.”
Board members of Yarrawonga Health and Many Mobs members spoke to the healthy crowd and enjoyed the days celebrations.
Indigenous students of Yarrawonga College P-12 performing their traditional, cultural dances.