Bendigo centres embrace NAIDOC celebrations
Five Bendigo Goodstart centres will take part in NAIDOC
celebrations on July 5, to support the local Aboriginal community.
The five centres, including Bendigo
, Golden Square
, Kangaroo Flat
, Flora Hill
, will attend a celebration day on July 5 from 10am-3pm.
NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The theme for the 2017 event is Our Languages Matter which aims to emphasise and celebrate the role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity.
Bendigo centre director Joanne Russell said she had set up a stall at the event for the past two years and decided to ask the other centres to take part.
Held to support the Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-Operative
(BDAC), Ms Russell said she had 500 children interact with the stall at last year’s event.
“For us, it’s a really positive experience and we really enjoy building partnerships within our community,” Ms Russell said. “We have worked alongside BDAC for a number years and we are excited to learn more about the local Aboriginal culture and continue to respect their culture within our centre.”
The Bendigo centres will hold a language activity for children on the day by reading How the Birds Got Their Colours
by Pamela Lofts and discussing the language used. The children will be able to use this book as inspiration while taking part in a water colour painting experience.
“Our aim in supporting this event is to encourage Aboriginal families in our area to access our services while feeling comfortable and supported within them,” Ms Russell said.
“We can offer help in enrolling, applying for funding and gaining access to support services. We have a high number of Aboriginal children in this area who don’t access a centre at all.”
Ms Russell said she had partnered with BDAC to help her team understand the issues surrounding Aboriginal families, and to get their advice on how to make centres more comfortable places to visit.
“We can also help families access speech pathologists, child health services, local school services, language and literacy programs, so it is a great opportunity to promote our services in the local community.”
About 250 distinct Indigenous language groups were believed to be in use at first European contact in the late eighteenth century. Most of these would have had several dialects, meaning the total number of named varieties would be in the many hundreds. Today, about 120 of those language are still spoken.