Meander Valley Gazette

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Some not-so-secret women’s business

Events, NewsJoanne EisemannComment


AUGUST 2018 | Antonia Howarth-Wass

NAIDOC WEEK was highlighted by ceremonies at the Cenotaph in Deloraine followed by a luncheon at the Rotary Pavilion. Melissa Carter was Mistress of Ceremonies and Auntie Dawn Blazeley provided a welcome to country 2018, this year dedicated to the role of women within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities.

A celebration of the unique and central role of women in keeping alive the stories and songs about land, water and family is central to cultures as old as that of Australian aborigines. Acknowledging lore, geography, history, society, astronomy, biology, food and much more than any other form of cultural inheritance and imbuing spiritual meanings which could so easily be lost.

“In such circumstances, each daughter, mother, auntie and child is essential to the strength and survival of our people” says Melissa Carter in her strong pronouncements about continued activities by her people and their involvement less in stories of sadness and more about community involvement and future opportunities which will ensure survival.

The usual flag raising ceremony took place, followed by a short speech from Mayor Craig Perkins who acknowledged the central role played by elders, past and present, to future leaders and, indeed, to the role of leadership itself.

The traditional procession to the Yarning Circle was accompanied by a short Firestick Festival along a Trail which shows a history prior to the 200-year white history, with food and animals key to land and love of country with its fruits and inhabitants as important as the people who enjoy it.

The luncheon provided traditional food such as mutton bird, rabbit stew, wallaby patties and fish, while Niecy Brown and Auntie Dawn made decisions about awards for art work on display. Some of the recipients of the certificates of recognition were Bony, Oliver, Jasmine, Jill, Kyle and Guy. First prize went to Keah Bloomfield, second prize to Isabella Sherriff and Karen Back won third prize. Probably the most outstanding exhibit was that of Dillon Webb, with his depiction of the history of aboriginal peoples in Tasmania, especially of the Pallitorre Peoples who are local to the north-western tribe, together with 8 other tribes and 33 clans. The work described in pictures and words the evolution of an entire cultural movement which became separated from the mainland during the last glacial period.

Martin Hay of Colony 47 announced that he will be handing over the co-hosting of these celebrations to the Aboriginal Council and its local community. Melinda Horton was handed both the Aboriginal flag and the Flag of the Torres Strait Islanders in recognition of the new role, which is understood to be a national decision. And to that end, all ladies were invited to participate, presumably as equals to males, in the coming years.

Photo | Mike Moores