From basketball to basket weaving, community members are invited to celebrate NAIDOC Week in Baw Baw Shire with a deadly program of events, exhibitions and workshops delivered by and with local Elders.
Check out the events below and learn how you can get involved.
Monday 3 July
All community members are invited to join Council in an official NAIDOC Week opening ceremony from 9.00 am to 10.30pm in the West Gippsland Arts Centre forecourt.
The event will feature a flag raising, smoking ceremony and welcome to Country with free coffee and toasties by Coffee Vibes and music by DJ Nige.
The opening ceremony will be followed by a Deadly Hoops basketball game and activities from 11am at Bellbird Park Stadium in Drouin, following the below schedule:
- Basketball clinic from 11am - 12:30pm
- Community basketball match from 12:50pm - 1:30pm
- BBQ lunch and yarning from 1:30pm - 3pm
No registrations are required and all are welcome to attend.
First Nations exhibition and creative workshops at WGAC
Running daily from Thursday 6 July through Sunday 9 July at West Gippsland Arts Centre, there will be basket weaving, possum skin burning, dillybag making, wood burning, clapping sticks, and sketching and painting sessions – all run by local Kurnai Nation elders.
Bookings are capped at 15 people per session, so secure your place to avoid missing out.
Our Kurnai Elders, the keepers of one of the world's oldest cultures, will lead these workshops, passing on their knowledge and traditions to the next generation. The workshops are a testament to the importance of our Elders in the cultural sustainability of the Kurnai community.
This "Visions of Kurnai Culture: Cultural Art Workshops" series is an opportunity to honour our Elders and their commitment to preserving our culture. By participating, you're not only learning new skills, but also engaging in the preservation and celebration of our rich and resilient Kurnai culture.
Thursday 6 July
9am-12pm: Basket Weaving Workshop
Led by a Kurnai Elder, this workshop invites participants to connect with the tradition of basket weaving. Basket weaving is a practice cherished and passed down by our Elders.
By engaging in the art of weaving baskets using natural materials, participants will gain a deeper understanding of this cherished tradition and its significance in Kurnai culture.
This is a unique opportunity to learn directly from our respected Elders, embracing the wisdom they bring.
12:30pm-3pm: Sand Painting Workshop
Guided by a Kurnai Elder, this workshop will immerse participants in the powerful visual storytelling medium of sand painting.
Sand painting is a tradition our Elders have preserved and passed down through generations. Participants will explore the history and cultural importance of sand painting, and will have the opportunity to create their own sand art pieces.
This workshop is a celebration of the knowledge our Elders hold and their willingness to share it.
Friday 7 July
9am-12pm: Wood Burning Workshop
Wood burning, or pyrography, is a practice our Kurnai Elders have kept alive.
This workshop, led by a Kurnai Elder, provides participants an intimate connection with this art form. Participants will gain an understanding of wood burning techniques and their cultural significance.
By creating their own burned wood pieces, participants honour the traditions that our Elders have preserved.
12:30pm-3pm: Clapping Stick Making Workshop
Clapping sticks are traditional musical instruments that hold a special place in the Kurnai culture, and this workshop, led by a Kurnai Elder, is a tribute to the sounds of our ancestors.
Participants will learn about the cultural significance of clapping sticks, how they're traditionally made, and will have the opportunity to create their own, echoing the rhythms that our Elders have carried forward.
Saturday 8 July
9am-12pm: Possum Skin Work Workshop
The creation of possum skin cloaks is a significant tradition among our Kurnai Elders.
Led by a Kurnai Elder, this workshop invites participants to experience this tradition hands-on. Participants will learn about the traditional methods used to create these cloaks, their cultural significance, and the practical skills needed to work with possum skin.
This workshop is a testament to the resourcefulness and wisdom of our Elders.
12:30pm-3pm: Dillybag Making Workshop
Dillybags are symbols of our Elders' resourcefulness.
This workshop, guided by a Kurnai Elder, will educate participants about the cultural significance and traditional methods of making dillybags. Participants will get hands-on experience in creating one, thus carrying forward the practical knowledge our Elders have preserved.
Sunday 9 July
9am-12pm: Cultural Sustainability Workshop
This workshop, led by a Kurnai Elder, is a dialogue about the importance of cultural sustainability.
It's a celebration of our Elders, who have been the custodians of our traditions. Topics may include traditional knowledge preservation, intergenerational transfer of cultural practices, and the balance between cultural traditions and modern life.
This is an opportunity to pay homage to our Elders and the legacy they hold.
12:30pm-3pm: Plant Identification Workshop
The Kurnai community has a rich knowledge of local plants, many of which have traditional uses that our Elders have preserved.
In this workshop, led by a Kurnai Elder, participants will explore the natural world through the lens of Kurnai culture, learning to identify local plants by their Ganai names, and understanding their traditional uses.
This workshop is a celebration of our deep connection to the land and the wisdom our Elders carry about it.
This year there are many other NAIDOC week events happening across Australia.
Click here for a full listing of NAIDOC Week events, or to list yours.