Dear members of the Marcellin family
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are the oldest, continuous cultures in the world, having existed in Australia for at least 50,000 years. The uniqueness of these cultures, the wisdom and the knowledge embedded in them are things to be highly valued. The Australian and Victorian Curriculum includes the knowledge and skills students are expected to develop about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders histories and cultures, given their particular and enduring importance.
Two events in the coming week provide an opportunity for us to stop and reflect on the roles Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have played in building our community.
NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia to commemorate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians.
NAIDOC stands for the ‘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.
The 2020 NAIDOC theme is Always Was. Always will Be. The theme has been developed to focus on the length of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander occupation of Australia. The theme seeks to invite us to explore and learn, and appreciate the wealth and breadth of Indigenous Nations, languages and knowledges of this continent. Exploring and learning about Indigenous understandings of the environment, plants, animals, greater astronomy, waters, land use and protection, Indigenous sciences and maths.
I invite you to go to the NAIDOC website to learn more about a range of activities on offer for the coming week.
The 11th of November is Remembrance Day. A day when we stop at 11am for a minute silence to remember those that never made their journey home. We remember those that suffered in wars, conflicts and peace operations.
My wife’s great grandfather was a soldier in the Lighthorse. He talked about the bravery of the men who fought alongside him, especially the Aboriginal soldiers at Gallipoli. When he returned home, he also felt great sorrow that the Aboriginal soldiers did not receive the same recognition and benefits as the other soldiers. There were no soldier settlements and often no medals.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commemorative Ceremony is held every year at the Shrine of Remembrance on the 31st of May. It is through the work of Aunty Dot Peters that these men and women were recognised at the first Victorian Aboriginal Remembrance Service in 2007.
Together we stand in solidarity with our Indigenous peoples. Please join me in recognising and celebrating the wonderful contributions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made and continue to make to our community.
With blessings for the week ahead.