On Friday, 31 May 2019 the Vinnies Local Area Coordinator team in Charlestown came together to listen, share and connect in recognition of reconciliation week.
Our Aboriginal Local Area Coordinators Nathan Morgan, Marcus Weatherall and Sam Ruttley involved the entire staff of the office by getting them to bring in a plate/dish of food that reflected their cultural heritage.
Nathan, Marcus and Sam gave a presentation about Reconciliation Week, focusing on the theme of 2019 “Grounded in truth: together with courage” Yeena Thompson delivered an acknowledgement to country in Gamilaraay language. Nathan, Marcus and Sam then highlighted the importance of the 1967 Referendum and also the Mabo Decision. Sam shared a personal family story of how the 1967 Referendum impacted on her family, showing courage to speak truths and highlight to the staff that the issues of past are still very much raw and recent for Aboriginal People.
A Ted Talk from Bruce Pascoe, an Aboriginal writer and anthologist, was played, further focusing on the “Grounded in truth” theme. Bruce spoke about dispelling the myth that Aboriginal people were hunters and gatherers and “did nothing with the land that resembled agriculture”.
Nathan, Marcus and Sam had organized a ‘connection to country’ walk, lead by Lee Lazarevic from Aboriginal Affairs and Greg Blyton from the University of Newcastle. Greg talked to the staff from an historical point of view about the area, whilst Lee spoke about connection to country.
All staff enjoyed the day, listening to the presentation, appreciating the walk, amazed at the rawness of the bush and the freshness of the coastal views, all on the doorstep of where we live and work. All staff spoke highly of the dedication and knowledge shared from Nathan, Marcus and Sam and look forward to getting out of the office and learning further about the Aboriginal people that lived around the Lake Macquarie area.