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Aboriginal culture celebrated at GV Health

By Tara Whitsed

A display of Aboriginal cultural traditions was on show at Goulburn Valley Health’s NAIDOC Week celebrations yesterday.

Audience members were welcomed to country by Aboriginal elder Lance James, who said this year’s NAIDOC Week was incredibly important due to the steps taken toward developing a treaty.

He was followed by Greg James who spoke about the significance and history of NAIDOC and the importance of this year’s theme — ‘‘Voice. Treaty. Truth.’’

‘‘NAIDOC Week is a great opportunity to recognise the culture and achievements of Aboriginal people,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a chance to come together and share in the richness of our culture.’’

He went on to speak about the theme and noted the importance of truth-telling.

‘‘It is an opportunity to set the record straight,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s about telling the truth about what really happened in the past.

‘‘Aboriginal history is Australia’s history; it’s everyone’s history.’’

Guests were also treated to an entertaining didgeridoo performance by Graham Briggs after a smoking ceremony was conducted.

Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp said he had attended several NAIDOC events in the past and had never seen such a well-attended event.

‘‘Today’s event has been terrific,’’ he said.

The event also had the hospital formally launch its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural response plan as well as a huge announcement from the Goulburn Valley Health Foundation.

Foundation director Carmel Johnson said it would donate $25000 to GV Health’s Minya Barmah room to refurbish the facilities there.

The room houses the hospital’s Aboriginal liaison officers and provides a space where all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are welcome to have a yarn, a cup of tea or just relax.