Staff share stories for NAIDOC

Gabs Reiter’s great grandmother, Ellen Chriseva Eade with her grandson.

Staff at Aussie Broadband have kicked off NAIDOC Week with a range of activities planned to celebrate the local indigenous culture.

Part of this included staff sharing their own personal story and reconnecting with their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity.

Gabs Reiter from Clyde North said she felt lucky to be part of a team that truly embraces acceptance of people from all cultures.

“One of the values at Aussie Broadband is ‘be good to people’ and I was surprised by how much my managers and colleagues really do embrace that,” she explained.

“I only found out about my heritage a few years ago but I was lucky enough to grow up learning about aboriginal culture.

“We always suspected that my great grandmother had aboriginal heritage because she had this beautiful complexion. But it wasn’t until some relatives turned up at her funeral from the Murri tribe that we started to connect the dots,” Gabs said.

“My great grandmother hid her identity because of the discrimination at the time.

“I grew up camping so I’ve always related to the love of the land and respect for mother nature. So, when I found out that aboriginal culture was in my blood, there was a feeling of completeness,” she said.

The company’s NAIDOC Week program has been led completely by staff. It includes performing arts, indigenous foods, weaving stations and a kids’ colouring competition judged by renowned Gunaikurnai artist and Gippsland resident Ronald Edwards Pepper.

On Monday, staff were treated to a pre-recorded performance by Kurnai College’s Dedlee Kultya dancers. The group performed the song and dance Naanaa Nukindhere.

This song reminds them to stay on the dreaming track, not to veer off in the wrong direction and to stay in touch with their culture.

The 2020 NAIDOC Week theme “Always Was. Always will Be” has been developed to shine a focus on the length of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander occupation of Australia.

NAIDOC Week celebrations are usually held in July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, but this year it was moved to November due to the pandemic.

Community impact manager at Aussie Broadband, Caroline Kennon said this was a time to reflect and to show support for our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

“NAIDOC Week is an important time for indigenous people as it is a time of celebration and connection with each other, community and country, and it is important time for Australians to celebrate their rich cultural history and achievements.

“Aussie Broadband is proud to be a part of those celebrations,” she said.

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