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What NAIDOC Means to Wurundjeri & Dja Dja Wurrung Woman Stacie Piper

Wurundjeri and Dja Dja Wurrung woman Stacie Piper is the current Chairperson for the Victorian NAIDOC Committee. Stacie yarns with Gman on 3KND about what NAIDOC means to her and what events will be taking place in Victoria while we are dealing with COVID-19. The origins of NAIDOC Week can be traced back to the Aboriginal rights movement. It started as a day of mourning in 1938, and over the decades the hard work of Volunteers brings community together to recognise our achievements through key events: Awards Night, Flag Raising, Pride Night, March and a Gala Ball.

Stacie states, “We need to celebrate all who have contributed to Victorian NAIDOC, getting it to where it is today, even when the odds are stacked against us. It’s something we are so proud of! Let’s keep it strong and support our people who dedicate themselves to the values and meaning of NAIDOC Week”. As the current Chairperson, I say now, to the current and passed Committees your work is so very important, you give so much of your time and hearts as Volunteers... you make your ancestors proud... you will be acknowledged - it’s overdue.

Always Was, Always Will Be. recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. We are spiritually and culturally connected to this country. This country was criss-crossed by generations of brilliant Nations.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were Australia's first explorers, first navigators, first engineers, first farmers, first botanists, first scientists, first diplomats, first astronomers and first artists. Australia has the world's oldest oral stories. The First Peoples engraved the world's first maps, made the earliest paintings of ceremony and invented unique technologies. We built and engineered structures - structures on Earth - predating well-known sites such as the Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge.

Our adaptation and intimate knowledge of Country enabled us to endure climate change, catastrophic droughts and rising sea levels.

Always Was, Always Will Be. acknowledges that hundreds of Nations and our cultures covered this continent. All were managing the land - the biggest estate on earth - to sustainably provide for their future. Through ingenious land management systems like fire stick farming we transformed the harshest habitable continent into a land of bounty.

NAIDOC Week 2020 acknowledges and celebrates that our nation's story didn't begin with documented European contact whether in 1770 or 1606 - with the arrival of the Dutch on the western coast of the Cape York Peninsula.

The very first footprints on this continent were those belonging to First Nations peoples.

Our coastal Nations watched and interacted with at least 36 contacts made by Europeans prior to 1770. Many of them resulting in the charting of the northern, western and southern coastlines - of our lands and our waters. For us, this nation's story began at the dawn of time. NAIDOC 2020 invites all Australians to embrace the true history of this country - a history which dates back thousands of generations. It's about seeing, hearing and learning the First Nations' 65,000+ year history of this country - which is Australian history. We want all Australians to celebrate that we have the oldest continuing cultures on the planet and to recognise that our sovereignty was never ceded.

Always Was, Always Will Be!


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