By Callum Ludwig
First Nations history and culture will be celebrated across the Yarra Ranges from Sunday 3 July as NAIDOC Week kicks off around the country.
The week kicks off with the 2022 National NAIDOC Week Awards Ceremony at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday 2 July to recognise significant achievements, while the headline event in the Yarra Ranges is a performance from the internationally-renowned Mutti Mutti Songman Kutcha Edwards.
Member of the Indigenous Development Team at Yarra Ranges Council and Taungurung man Nelson Aldridge said NAIDOC Week is an important event for celebrating all things Indigenous history and culture.
“Attending the events, showing your allyship and that you are interested in a really good start and is part of the story of reconciliation and coming together, thee acknowledging of the past, but now we’re working together and we’re celebrating Indigenous culture together,” he said.
“It’s a massive week for Indigenous people, and we are celebrating individuals, especially with the theme of the week being ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’”.
Kutcha Edwards will be hosting Circling Time Co-presented with Oonah Belong Place at The Memo in Healesville on Saturday 9 July from 7.30pm singing his songs and sharing his stories. Mr Edwards is famous for his work in groups like Blackfire and The Black Arm Band, his recent Carpool Koorioke which has featured the likes of Archie Roach, Dan Sultan, Bart Willoughby, and Uncle Jack Charles and his VIPA award-winning theatre work, Songlines of a Mutti Mutti Man. Mr Edwards has featured in recording collaborations with the likes of Paul Kelly, Paul Hester of Crowded House, and Boom Crash Opera songsmith and producer, Richard Pleasance.
Mr Aldridge said for non-Indigenous people, NAIDOC Week is an opportunity to learn and engage with Indigenous history which we are immersed in.
“Knowing indigenous history is a way of truth-telling, it’s a way of going forward as Aboriginal history is also your history, it is history that’s there and it can’t be denied. As we progress in the future, I think Indigenous culture is going to be inherited in day-to-day life,” he said.
“Everyone is immersed in Indigenous culture, some way or another, words like Woori Yallock and Mt Donna Buang are Indigenous words. Non-Indigenous people actually use Indigenous words every day, and they don’t even realise it, it’s all part of the growing aspect.”
In the Yarra Ranges, there is the ongoing Yarra/Birrarung spirit in the city of Melbourne which is running through NAIDOC Week having started on 24 June and continuing until 23 July in Upwey, and Yambo Yarns in Belgrave which currently has no confirmed date.
Yarra Ranges residents can also head into the city for the Victorian NAIDOC flag raising in Federation Square at 9.30am on Monday 4 July, the Victorian NAIDOC LGBTQIA+ pride night and crowning in Fitzroy on Wednesday 6 July from 7pm to 11pm and NAIDOC March on Friday 8 July from 12pm to 4pm starting at 186 Nicholson St, Melbourne.