Canberrans are being encouraged to use NAIDOC Week, this week, as an opportunity to stop and reflect on Indigenous culture.
NAIDOC Week in the ACT opened with an Indigenous light spectacular projected onto the National Carillon, which is to be illuminated with a series of Indigenous artworks and designs from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists throughout the week.
Proud Wiradjuri man and Executive Branch Manager of the National Arboretum Canberra, Scott Saddler said this year’s NAIDOC theme, Always Was, Always Will Be, reinforced the strength and resilience of First Nations Peoples to survive and thrive.
Mr Saddler said he and his team at the National Arboretum Canberra celebrated Indigenous culture year-round, with tours of the Bush Tucker Garden, weaving workshops and culture craft for kids.
“NAIDOC Week is about letting the non-Indigenous people of Australia understand a bit more about our culture,” Mr Saddler said.
“But also, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feeling culturally safe and being able to express ourselves within those circles,” he said.
“I think for the non-indigenous Australians, it is to try to understand that we’re not asking all of Australians to understand fully about our culture, but to just stop and reflect and to maybe understand a small piece of our culture.”
Mr Saddler said reconciliation was about closing the gap regarding equality, better life outcomes, health, and employment.
“Reconciliation is good for our people but let’s have it as meaningful, outcome driven and immersive practice for all Australians,” he said.