NAIDOC Week celebrations kick off in the Clarence Valley

NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for all Australians to come together to celebrate the rich and diverse cultural heritage of our First Nations' people; the world's oldest living culture.

Council General Manager Ashley Lindsay, acknowledges that in the Clarence Valley our relationship has not always been easy and only by listening and working with First Nations’ people can we build a better future inclusive of everyone.

“This year the NAIDOC week theme is ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’.  This is a powerful reminder to everyone that our First Nations’ people have lived here and cared for this country for tens of thousands of years,” said Mr Lindsay. 

“The destruction of the scar tree in Grafton in 2016 was a watershed moment in the relationship between Council and our First Nations’ people.”

“It highlighted that we had an enormous amount of work ahead of us to improve our understanding of the Bundjalung, Gumbaynggirr and Yaegl people - the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Clarence Valley.

“As a result of this painful event, we have been focusing on developing closer relationships with local Elders and their communities.”

“With their support all Council staff members have participated in a Cultural Training Program.  The aim of the training was to provide everyone a greater understanding of First Nations’ people, their culture and their enduring connection to country.”

“We have been working closely with the Yaegl Elders on a Cultural Sites Mapping Project, which plots places of cultural significance and we would like to work with Bundjalung and Gumbaynggirr Elders in a similar way.”

“Engagement with our First Nations’ staff members also helps us in our cultural decision making processes.”

“These relationships are key in guiding the future of the organisation to ensure that we do not disregard these important cultural values.”

“We aim to increase First Nations’ employment within the organisation so that we have a true reflection of our community.”

Due to COVID-19, NAIDOC Week was moved from July to the November; with the pandemic impacting on the number events that usually take place.
 

RELEASE ENDS

9 November 2020
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