NAIDOC Week – ‘We All Stand on Sacred Ground’

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By Jess Scarlett

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. It was started in the 1920’s and has now bestows its name to the week that celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It’s a week to come together to celebrate and be involved in your communities and to honour indigenous tribes.

The land we stand on many years ago extended right out to the ocean. What we know today as Port Phillip Bay was then a large flat plain where the Boon Wurrung people hunted kangaroos and cultivated their daisy yam.

The Boon Wurrung and other Kulin Nations started to fight and where in great conflict. With this came a time of chaos and crisis. With all the arguing and fighting they started to neglect their children, their land, their yams, animals were killed but not always eaten, fish caught in spawning season… The chaos started to grow, with this the sea became very angry and began to rise until it took away their plain and threatened to flood the country.

Bunjil their great spiritual leader (Eagle) and creator was sought by the people. They asked Bunjil to stop the sea rising. The only way to stop the sea rising said Bunjil was to change their ways if they wanted to save their land.

The people thought about everything they had been doing and made a promise to follow Bunjil.

So Bunjil took his spear and walked out to sea, he raised his spear directing the sea to stop. Bunjil made the people promise to respect the laws. The Kulin people started to meet where Parliament house is now. There they discussed and debated issues of great importance to the nation; they celebrated and danced.

The sacred land will always be protected by the creator; Bunjil, who travels as an eagle. This story has been told by Carolyn Briggs Boon Wurrung on the website Culture Victoria.

This story is a very important story as it allows us to reflect on this very sacred land in St Kilda. It allows us to honour the law of this very beautiful land. The promise reaches into all our responsibilities of looking after our people, honouring the original land owners- taking on their promise to live in harmony, with our children, our local flora and fauna, our food and water…

It takes us to the understanding that it was their site where parliament now resides. How we need to bring back their stories, their dance and their celebration especially in Naidoc week. Allow us to learn of their understanding of their land. Acknowledging their Spiritual Leader which flies as an eagle and let our busy lives just lapse in a moment of looking to the sky and feel as one with this great majestic bird. Allowing us to also make a promise to stop fighting and arguing and go back to ceremony. Planting some native plants, walking in nature or partaking in activities in Naidoc week is one step closer to our sacred promise to Bunjil.

NAIDOC Week 5-12 July 2015

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