Orange NAIDOC Week kicks off Sunday without the traditional street march but includes an online talent contest, the annual Harmony Cup, a golf day and an Elders Lunch.
Orange NAIDOC Committee Chair Gerald Power said the celebration was scaled down this year due to COVID-19 but the spirit for the week was just as strong and vibrant as it was every year.
“The national theme for this year’s NAIDOC Week is Always Was, Always Will Be.
“As we reflect on and explore our nation’s history, all 65,000 years of history, our nation’s First Peoples navigated the land, farmed the land, studied and learned from the land,” Mr Power said.
“The theme investigates how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples adapted to the changing environment, survived and thrived during drought, bush fires and rising sea levels. As well as looking at the innovative ways our First Peoples managed the land, such as fire stick farming.”
Orange NAIDOC Week begins with a small group of local Elders, and community members participating in a smoking ceremony, flag raising ceremony and an official welcome on Monday, November 9.
Instead of the traditional NAIROC Concert, school and dance groups are busy filming their performances for an online talent show, and our local soccer stars are cleaning their boots ahead of the Harmony Cup.
The Harmony Cup is a soccer tournament, and festivities, between local Indigenous and multicultural teams, and includes Indigenous and multicultural dance and food.
The Harmony Cup match is open for anyone to attend and is held November 8, from 11.30am to 3pm at Sir Jack Brabham Park.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd said, one of his favourite elements of the week-long event was the awarding of Completion of Year 12 Awards to local Indigenous teenagers.
“I am pleased Orange City Council contributes to the presentation of these awards to our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Year 12s,” Cr Kidd said.
“This year, 34 year 12 students in the Orange area identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and given how this year was filled with more challenges than any other year 12 cohort has had to deal with, I am particularly proud of them for the efforts they have made this year.”
Orange NAIDOC Committee member and Orange Councillor Stephen Nugent encouraged the community to head to the Orange Regional Museum to see the display of original paintings and prints by local and well known Indigenous artists.
“Every year the NAIDOC street march is joined by hundreds of school children, preschools, child care centres, and members of the community, which shows how passionate and involved the community is with NAIDOC Week,” Cr Nugent said.
“This year, see the Museum, head over to Sir Jack Brabham Park for the Harmony Cup and acknowledge the flag raising as it is livestreamed on Council’s Facebook page, and spend some time thinking about the meaning of NAIDOC Week as a way to celebrate this year.”