NAIDOC Week 2020

Koonyaba yeerram, Nyoorra Woorreeyn (Good morning, how do you do).

My name is Craig Edwards, I’m a proud Wadda-wurrung Gunditjmara man and Chairperson of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-op. I am also a member of Eastern Maar Traditional Owner and Wadda-Wurrung Traditional Owner groups.

I would like to pay my respects to my elders past and present I also pay respect to Woorr-woorr Moorroop (Sky Spirits) Ngoobeeyt Moorroop (Water Spirits) Tabayl-derrk Moorroop (Land/Ground Spirits).

On behalf of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative and my fellow Board of Directors in Wendy Brabham and Judy Dalton-Walsh, I would like to acknowledge this week commemorates National Aboriginal and Islanders Day/Week (NAIDOC) and the importance this week represents for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 we have been forced to reschedule our (NAIDOC) week celebrations to 8th – 15th November 2020.

However, Wathaurong still wanted to acknowledge and mark today’s significant importance for the community with a virtual flag raising. This year’s NAIDOC theme is – Always Was, Always Will Be – which recognises that our people have occupied and cared for this land for over 80,000 years. We continue to strive for Treaty and Constitutional recognition, to have our voices enshrined under both Aboriginal lore and Western law; and we maintain our commitment to justice through reparation and land rights.

So please remember history because it allows your presence to create a better future.

The NAIDOC theme has great significance for Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, as we celebrate 40 years since the Co-op was officially registered on 22 May 1980. While we are not able to celebrate together in person just yet, our team is putting together a number of activities and collating photos, videos and memories to share. If you have something you would like to share with us, please get in touch as we would love to hear memories from all 40 years of the Co-op’s history.

Finally, I just want to say even in isolation, we are never alone – reach out to each other, have a yarn, stay connected to your mob and stay safe.

Nyatne, Gobota (thanks, Take Care)