The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has launched a new initiative to give athletes a greater appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture in the lead up to NAIDOC week, this week.
The AIS said the initiative, Share a Yarn, saw groups of athletes meet with traditional landowners at their home sports training venues in Canberra, Adelaide, Sydney and the Gold Coast.
“Athletes shared a yarn with local Indigenous custodians at six sporting locations around the country, learning about the history and significance of the land, but also building ongoing relationships with the indigenous community in their local area,” the AIS said.
Chief Executive of the AIS, Peter Conde the Institute was committed to creating positive and lasting change to reduce inequality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.
“These types of activities provide a genuine opportunity for athletes to engage in an open and two-way conversation, and help them gain the knowledge they need to empower them to be better role models for cultural understanding and inclusivity,” Mr Conde said.
He said Karate champion, Michelle Wilson (pictured right) and Beach Volleyballer Christopher McHugh met with Kaurna custodian Mickey Kumatpi O’Brien (pictured left) at the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI).
“Sharing culture is something that our people have always and continue to do,” Mr O’Brian said.
“Our people believe no one person holds all the knowledge and wisdom, it is shared. Culture enables us to connect and bring people together,” he said.
Mr McHugh urged all athletes to learn more about the history of the land on which they trained and said Australian athletes represented all Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.