Last Wednesday members of the Corner Inlet community celebrated NAIDOC Week at Manna Gum Community House with a sand art workshop, Welcome to Country and Johnny cakes cooked on the campfire in Manna Garden to accompany a delicious soup. Special guest Susan Simpson, an early years educator from Uniting Care Gippsland and proud Kurnai woman ran the art workshop and shared her story. She spoke about her time living in different towns across Gippsland, being a parent of seven children, and of her Elders who lived in the settlement of Jacksons Track at Lake Tyers.
This year’s NAIDOC Week theme was Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! The theme is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities’ proud history of getting up, standing up, and showing up. It is a call to action for people to keep fighting for systemic change and “whether it’s seeking proper environmental, cultural and heritage protections, Constitutional change, a comprehensive process of truth-telling, working towards treaties, or calling out racism—we must do it together.”
The art workshop was attended by children of all ages as well as adults. “The day started with a sand art activity, gathering on the mat in the garden to gain an explanation of some Aboriginal symbols. Then the participants used a combination of these symbols and some of their own original ones to tell a visual story” said Lisa Duvoisin from Foster Library.
“It was great to see how many people came to our event this year from across Corner Inlet. We were lucky to get some spectacular weather!” said Rebecca Matthews, Manager of Manna Gum Community House. “A lot of people want to have the conversation about reconciliation and develop a deeper understanding of our history and the local culture. Staff from South Gippsland Hospital and Foster Medical Centre were amongst the many people who came along to hear Susan tell her story”
“We are always grateful to the many volunteers including those from the local community garden networks who support our events and services at Manna Gum” said Rebecca. The event was held in partnership with Foster MYLI library and support was provided by South Gippsland Shire Council and Project GreenPlot.