Switch to online celebrations has not stifled NAIDOC Week message

6 NOVEMBER 2020

Switch to online celebrations has not stifled NAIDOC Week message

Charles Sturt staff, students and communities to acknowledge NAIDOC Week through series of videos that showcase the history, culture and practices of our First Nations peoples.

  • Charles Sturt NAIDOC Week events move to digital format
  • Three videos have been produced to show different aspects of First Nations culture at Charles Sturt campuses
  • University will change from using Indigenous to First Nations terminology from next year

NAIDOC Week events scheduled for July were delayed due to COVID-19 but it has not deterred the enthusiasm to acknowledge this important week by Charles Sturt University staff and students.

Originally standing for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, NAIDOC Week is a celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and will this year be held from Sunday 8 to Sunday 15 November.

Charles Sturt values the health and safety of its staff, students and community and this year decided to acknowledge NAIDOC Week digitally.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) Professor Juanita Sherwood said due to the uncertain nature of COVID-19 restrictions in NSW, it was decided to change the way the week was recognised.

“We generally host events on campus or participate in community-led events, however, this year at the time we needed to start planning, the status of COVID-19 restrictions in November was uncertain,” she said.

“Our team agreed that it would be best to opt for a more digital acknowledgement of NAIDOC Week this year.”

With a theme of ‘always was, always will be’, Charles Sturt has produced a series of three videos to be distributed on the University’s social media channels during the week.

The videos demonstrate the language, culture and practices that are so important to First Nations people.

The first video is of Aunty Rhonda Radley (pictured) speaking in Gathang language on Birpai Country in Port Macquarie, with an acknowledgement of Country.

Professor Sherwood speaks about the NAIDOC theme and mentions the University’s intention to shift towards the use of First Nations terminology instead of ‘Indigenous’ from 2021, in the second video.

The last video features Ms Trish McInherney, Aunty Rhonda Radley and Charles Sturt staff members on Country learning to weave, connecting with Country and sharing knowledge. This content was captured at on Birpai Country in Port Macquarie.

“Acknowledgement of Country, weaving, speaking in language, sharing knowledge on Country are all examples of the continuity of First Nations culture and ways of being, doing and knowing,” Professor Sherwood said.

“We may not be able to gather in person this year but we can still acknowledge this event and our people, culture and heritage.

“We are aiming to respectfully acknowledge the knowledge systems, ways of sharing knowledge and skills and connection to Country and language that are actively practiced in local Aboriginal communities.”

The videos will be published over the next week from Sunday 8 November on the Charles Sturt University Facebook page.

Media Note:

For more information or to arrange interviews with Professor Juanita Sherwood, contact Nicole Barlow at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0429 217 026 or news@csu.edu.au.

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