Celebrate 2019 NAIDOC with event in Clare

To celebrate NAIDOC 2019, Natural Resources Northern and Yorke and the Clare and Gilbert Valley’s Council have teamed up to bring a number of guest speakers, performers and stall holders to Clare.

Torres Strait Islander woman Natalie Sommerville has called the Mid North town of Spalding home for over fifteen years. As a broad acre cropping and livestock farmer, Ms Sommerville has made a considerable contribution to the Northern and Yorke region and agriculture sector through her positions on the Northern and Yorke NRM Board, Yackamoorundie Landcare Group and Women Together Learning (WoTL).

Ms Sommerville has also provided substantial strategic leadership on engagement and partnership opportunities between the NRM Board and First Nations, and effected change within both the Northern and Yorke NRM Board and the greater community through knowledge sharing and insight into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture and history.

Ms Sommerville said that NAIDOC is a great opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to share their culture and history which sometimes isn’t always represented in a genuine or holistic way.

“For me, being able to tell my personal story at last year’s Clare NAIDOC event was a challenging but empowering experience. I was able to reflect and share the disparity I observed between my mother’s side of the family with a European background compared to my father’s side of the family being Torres Strait Islander,” Ms Sommerville said.

“This is certainly not every day conversation for me, but it’s important to share this in order to gain understanding of today’s tensions and ongoing intergenerational issues and trauma.

“We need empathy to move forward. This year’s theme focus on the voice, treaty & truth which to me is imperative for our nation’s stronger future.

“Our Australian history doesn’t always reflect what truly happened, and vital parts of the puzzle are untold.

“We often hear of the first farmers in the Clare Valley region being the white settlers, but what about the Ngadjuri, Nukunu and Kaurna peoples who have been plant breeders, farmers and fisher peoples for thousands of years?

“Not everyone knows where the Torres Strait Islands are or even that it’s a part of Australia or the cultural differences between Aboriginal and Islanders peoples.

“NAIDOC events are important for me as it’s a great way to support and connect with other Indigenous people and share our culture with all Australians.”

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Aboriginal Engagement Officer Matthew Turner said that NAIDOC recognises and celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“This year's NAIDOC theme, ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s work together for a shared future’, acknowledges the three key elements to reform outlined in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“We are honoured to have Ngadjuri Elder, Uncle Vince Copley AM, address this years’ NAIDOC theme, Chairperson of Ngadjuri Nations Aboriginal Corporation Quenten Agius deliver the Welcome to Country and Aboriginal storytelling and Lilly Hancock, young Ngadjuri woman and Clare High School student, will speak about the importance of voice.

“Aboriginal dance troupe Dusty Feet Mob will perform throughout the celebrations and a number of regional Aboriginal businesses will showcase art, craft, food and culture, including Lakun Mara Basket Weaving, Dingo Dreaming, Warndu Foods and the Clare Valley Art Gallery.

“The Clare Library will have a display on the history and contemporary aspects of Ngadjuri culture and community health provider Sonder will give information on Closing the Gap and other health services along with badge making activities.

“We would like to extend an invitation to the local community to share in the celebrations and learn more about the rich culture, history and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Northern and Yorke region and beyond.”

Ms Sommerville said that so far the response for the event has been overwhelming.

“We expect to see a good crowd at Ennis Park. If you are working in the Clare area, please take a few hours off to come and support this fantastic event or encourage your staff and students to attend,” Ms Sommerville said.

NAIDOC week originated in the 1920s, when Aboriginal rights groups were formed to increase awareness of the status and treatment of Aboriginal people.

Details: Wednesday 7 August, 2019 from 11.00 am to 1.30 pm at Ennis Park, Main North Road Clare. A free BBQ lunch will be cooked by the Lions Club of Clare.

This event has been made possible through funding from the Northern and Yorke NRM Board and the Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council.

For more information and to RSVP for catering purposes, please contact the Natural Resources Centre in Clare on 8841 3400 or email Jessica.Henderson@sa.gov.au.

To learn more about NAIDOC, visit www.naidoc.org.au and to read the Uluru Statement of the Heart, visit www.1voiceuluru.org.

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