Wurundjeri-willam elder Uncle Ian Hunter performed a Welcome to Country ceremony at the inaugural NAIDOC celebrations held at the Footscray Hockey Club. Its the first time the club has incorporated a NAIDOC event during there sports program which saw a large crowd attend the many events on the day. These events included the NAIDOC 2021 theme – Heal Country! – which calls for all of us to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction. In line with this year's theme, Footscray Hockey Club had lots of fun activities for children to do to help them understand more about sustainability and protecting country.
There was a Native Animal Display with the experts at Wildlife Exposure educating children on important topics such as preserving habitats for Native Animals plus they brought down on the day unique species from around Australia. This year’s NAIDOC theme is Heal Country and children were able to touch and hold hand reared gilding possums, pat a tame dingo and confront non-venomous pythons whilst also learning about the importance of conservation and protecting our endangered species.
This was an opportunity to meet Aboriginal Elder Ian Hunter and once again a large community presence attended such a sacred event. For thousands of years, Aboriginal mob have performed Smoking Ceremonies to cleanse places and people and to promote the wellbeing of indigenous people as well as guests on Country.
Also on the day I was lucky to have viewed the gallery of work from the Salty One (also known as Lowell Hunter) a proud Nyul Nyul Saltwater man from the Kimberley's in Western Australia, who grew up on Gunditjmara Country in Warrnambool, and now lives on Wathaurong Country, Geelong. These incredible sand artworks are not to be missed!
Bunnings attended to help children learn how to re-pot a native plant that they can take home to plant in their gardens to help native insects. This was a community event where community attended and respected what the day meant to indigenous peoples. Congratulations to the committee of the Footscray Hockey Club who gave a commitment to hold an event yearly in there club.3KND Connecting to country.