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30 July 2019

For the first time, Indigenous residents lead a community NAIDOC event through Hawker.

Thanks to a partnership between the Hawker Areas School (HAS) and local Indigenous elders, the town witnessed what could become a fine tradition.

HAS Language teacher, Sasha Andersson was a main driver and organised sponsorship for the day. The National Radioactive Waste Management Facility and contractor AECOM sponsored, supplying Bundarra shirts emblazoned with the 2019 NAIDOC theme of Voice, Treaty, Truth.

The aim of the day (and week) was to celebrate the history and importance of Indigenous culture of the region.

Headmaster O’Neill agreed. ‘It’s great for the students to be part of acknowledging Indigenous culture.’

In keeping with the theme, speeches were in English and Adnyamathanha. ‘We teach both languages at the school,’ said Mr O’Neill. ‘These activities are very much in line with what we are trying to promote.’

Approximately 130 people, including students, parents and other locals, attended.

They marched through town before arriving at Blue Burt Park where Aunty Pauline McKenzie delivered the Welcome to Country.

Attendees then marched back to the school for a traditional fire-pit and barbeque feast of kangaroo tail and tjubbardies. Sasha seemed quite happy with the event and our support.

‘The impact goes far beyond just buying our kids shirts.

‘Because of your organisations’ generosity, every student has the shirt. Our Governing Council has passed this as a uniform option until the end of 2020.

‘Not having to use our budgets for these shirts frees up money for art activities. This includes photocopying for the International Year of Indigenous Languages booklet that we will be making.

‘Most importantly, it allows us to use our existing budgets on remuneration of community members. They volunteer their time, resources, and cultural capital year after year, event after event. So, thank you!’

Thank you, Sasha! It was a great event.

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