NAIDOC Week occurs every July throughout Australia in celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The theme for NAIDOC Week for 2017 is “our language matters”, emphasising the important role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity.
When Europeans first made contact with Indigenous Australians in the late eighteen century, there were 250 distinct Indigenous language groups that covered the continent. Many of these languages had several dialects, therefore, the total number of languages would have run into many hundreds. In 2017, around 120 of those languages are still spoken however we stand the risk of losing many of these traditional languages if more is not done to preserve them.
Georgina Blurton, Arche Health’s Wangen Murduin Team Leader, provides examples of Indigenous language that is meaningful to her; “MOORT – means family. Without my MOORT, I wouldn’t know what to do. My MOORT means the world to me. BOODJA – means our land, country. This is a strong word which is important to me. I know I can always rely on my BOODJA no matter what. My BOODJA helps me to heal mentally, physically and spiritually.”
During NAIDOC Week, our Aboriginal Health team attended several community events, providing pop-up stalls in Mirrabooka, Armadale and Ashfield which offered games, music, free giveaways as well as information on all the services Arche Health provides. Our team ended the week by celebrating on Friday evening at the 2017 Chevron Perth NAIDOC Ball at Crown.
Arche Health was actively involved in sponsoring the 2017 Basketball WA NAIDOC Carnival held at Bendat Basketball Stadium. Congratulations to Dorothy, one of our Care Coordinators who participated in the 2017 NAIDOC Netball Carnival in the winning B Division team.
Arche Health also donated tickets to the Ladies Rivervale wellbeing group run by our Wangen Murduin team so that they could attend the NAIDOC Dinner Dance. It was a memorable evening and everyone had a wonderful time!
Arche Health would like to congratulate Maisie Weston who was awarded the NAIDOC Perth 2017 Female Elder of the Year Award. Maisie is a 90-year-old Noongar Wagyl Kaip Elder and attends our Ladies Rivervale wellbeing group. Maisie has been a dedicated advocate for social justice for Aboriginal people for many years, working tirelessly with Aboriginal community based organisations while simultaneously raising her eight children. Maisie worked as a Field Officer with the first Aboriginal Legal Service in Perth and with the Nyandi Women’s Prison during the 1970’s, advocating on their behalf. Congratulations Maisie!