GOTAFE celebrates NAIDOC Week

GOTAFE celebrates NAIDOC Week

Chris Walker

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Greg James was the Keynote speaker at GOTAFE’s NAIDOC Week celebration.

Yesterday, Shepparton’s Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE campus was a hive of activity as it celebrated NAIDOC Week.

The large indigenous presence at the campus was recognised and celebrated with an interactive ceremony and morning tea.

Aunty Faye Lynam, indigenous artist Eric Brown and Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative deputy chairman Greg James spoke at the event.

The institute’s chief executive Travis Heeney said the ceremony was designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to feel welcome when attending the organisation.

Dananmu Bangerang Dance Group performing.

‘‘Education is such an important factor for young people or older people who are wanting to take a particular direction in their life,’’ Mr Heeney said.

The morning began with Jamie Atkinson conducting a traditional smoking ceremony, which was followed by numerous performances by Dananmu Bangerang Dance Group.

Mr James’s speech had a powerful impact on the audience as he spoke about the importance of celebrating NAIDOC Week.

A traditional smoking ceremony was a highlight.

Mr James spoke about voice, treaty and truth, which were the themes of this year’s NAIDOC Week and said the morning was a great opportunity to talk about Aboriginal recognition.

‘‘We need conversation and discussion 365 days of the year, not just during NAIDOC Week,’’ Mr James said.

The institute has provided indigenous cultural art programs for more than a decade and began its Koorie Education Unit more than 15 years ago.

Mr Heeney said the TAFE was looking forward to continuing and strengthening its bond within Shepparton’s indigenous communities.

‘‘We are very keen to engage with the community around how to make it more welcoming and ensure someone from an Aboriginal background feels comfortable to come in those front doors,’’ he said.

The morning ended with a flag raising ceremony and morning tea in the Koorie Education Centre.

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