Celebrate NAIDOC week

Spear-throwing and bush survival skills

Harry Alfred Pitt, from Torres Strait Islander man, was the winning entry to the National NAIDOC Poster competition. The theme for 2014 is Serving Country: Centenary & Beyond and Mr Pitt’s entry captured the essence of the theme in a clever and attractive way.

Image courtesy of NAIDOC Week website.

Spear-throwing and bush survival skills are just two of the activities planned by Ku-ring-gai Council to celebrate indigenous culture this week.

Naidoc Week activities in Ku-ring-gai kick off on Tuesday 8 July with an all-day spear-making workshop at the Wildflower Garden led by Jess Relton, Conservation Biologist and National Park Ranger.

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself.

Spear-making is a traditional Aboriginal skill and important cultural activity linked to survival.

Jess will share his knowledge and skills about the manufacturing and creation of this ancient tool and weapon, and work with the children to create their own spear. In the afternoon the Wildflower Garden Rangers will lead a campfire building activity.

On Wednesday 9 July the Wildflower Garden is again the scene for some traditional arts & crafts aimed at children aged 2 to 5 years. Australian Aboriginal Elder, teacher and artist, Walangari Karntawarra will be teaching children about how Aboriginal people paint. Walangari’s work has been showcased by ABC’s Play School. Children will create their own artwork and share what their painting means. There will also be face painting and didgeridoo playing. On the same day an indigenous dance and art class will also be held for 6 to 12 year olds.

On Thursday 10 July After-Dark Nature Tours take teens and children on a tour of the Wildflower Garden identifying indigenous bush foods and medicines. In the afternoon the Wildflower Garden Rangers will lead a bush survival activity.

The final event in Ku-ring-gai’s Naidoc Week celebrations is at the Wildflower Garden during the evening of Friday 11 July. Gather around the campfire for a very special experience with Walangari Karntawarra. The campfire was an important place for Aboriginal people to meet and share their oral history, listen to storytellers and talk of the day’s happenings. Walangari shares his Aboriginal campfire stories and the songs of the didgeridoo.

Mayor Jennifer Anderson said Naidoc Week had particular significance for Ku-ring-gai. “Indigenous culture is ingrained in our local history and our landscapes,” she said.

“I hope residents will be able to share in these special events we have planned.”

Sandra
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Sandra is a staff writer at The Kuringai Examiner. She likes to take on research-focussed articles. Shy and retiring, Sandra likes nothing more than scouring a pile of books and research articles for a morsel of information.