NAIDOC Week activities have been happening all over Australia this past week, and Tumut is no exception.
From a celebration at the Brungle Community Health Centre on Tuesday to a movie and meal today, the local Indigenous community is seizing the opportunity to show their pride in their culture and language.
It’s been a good few months for recognising the Wiradjuri contribution to the region, coming off the official opening of the Yarri and Jacky Jacky statue in Gundagai last month.
That statue recognises the two Aboriginal men who saved dozens of people during the Gundagai flood of 1852, and for Aunty Sonia Piper, the joy of the unveiling ceremony has not yet faded.
“I was so pleased with that, with us being on the [statue] committee,” she said.
“We were so proud of that; we’ve been trying to do that for a long time. Those two men saved a lot of white people in the 1800s, and seeing the sculptures and everything involved in it made me so proud. It was lovely to get something done like that.
“Just to look at all the people in the march [before the official unveiling], it was wonderful to see that.” As well as putting her hand up for the statue committee, Ms Piper has also had a hand in NAIDOC Week activities, particularly the family day in Gundagai.
“Anything to do with Aboriginal people I like to get involved, because I’m proud to be Aboriginal,” she said.
One of the major events this NAIDOC week was the book donation at the TAFE campus, an annual tradition where the Indigenous community donates a relevant work to the campus for their library.
This year the book was ‘Yindyamarra Yambuwan’ by Bernard Sullivan, a Wiradjuri poem with the English translation that explains the important Wiradjuri concept of ‘Yindyamarra.’
“Yindjamarra means respect; go slowly, do things respectfully,” explained Uncle Pat Connolly.
“Respect everything around you and respect yourself first, because you can’t respect anything else if you don’t respect yourself.”
NAIDOC Week is an annual celebration of Aboriginal culture, occurring in the first full week of July each year.