Celebrating NAIDOC Week at FBA

Communities across Australia are celebrating 50 years of the National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) this week.

NAIDOC Week events are held across Australia in July each year to celebrate and recognise the history, culture, resilience and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This year’s theme is “Keep the fire burning. Blak, Loud and Proud.”

Building cultural respect and confidence

For FBA Indigenous Engagement Coordinator Gloria Malone, NAIDOC Week is about culture, story-telling and reflecting on where First Nations people in Australia are today.

“We’re all loud, proud and black Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and it’s just maintaining that connection to our Country, who we are, and not forgetting where we come from.”

Gloria is a descendant of the Darumbal people on her mother and grandfather’s side and is of Western Kangulu and Wangan and Jangaulou descent on her father’s side.

Her role at FBA is to help staff interact with First Nations people in a culturally respectful way and support them to work with local Traditional Custodians.

She said it’s important to create a safe space where staff of all cultures and backgrounds can feel comfortable to ask questions and learn, in order to build those relationships with First Nations.

“It’s a very important thing for non-Indigenous people as well as Indigenous people,” Gloria said.

“Whenever I have a cultural awareness session I say ‘this room is your safe place, no question is silly, just ask me anything’ and I think by allowing that to happen your conversations just start organically.

“It has been making an impact and staff are feeling more comfortable and confident to approach First Nations groups they’re working with.”

Gloria Malone and Robert Cedar.

Listening and Learning

As part of NAIDOC Week at FBA, staff attended a session with Gloria and guest speaker Robert Cedar.

Robert is a Peiudu Padiu man from Erub (Darnley) Island in the Torres Strait.

For Robert NAIDOC Week is about sharing and building awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and how we can all be sharing this country together.

“Highlighting those enriched values, who we are and that makes us our identity,” Robert said.

“Without identity, where do we fit in in the world?”

Together Gloria and Robert ran a cultural awareness session for FBA staff, that encouraged them to feel confident having conversations with First Nations people.

“I guess it’s slowly breaking down those barriers, so people aren’t sitting in silos anymore and we’re starting now to move on that level playing field,” Gloria said.

“We are a multicultural society now, we need to accept that because it’s not going to go away.

“We just need to make sure that we’ve got an open mind and just base people on who they are standing in front of you and not what may have happened in the past.”

To find out more about NAIDOC Week events across central Queensland go to the events page on the FBA website.

FBA staff attended a First Nations meeting with Robert Cedar and Gloria Malone.