Celebrating culture

Celebrating culture

Mungart Yongah Aboriginal Dancers opened the city's NAIDOC week event with a traditional dance.

The City of Armadale hosted its NAIDOC festival this week where thousands turned up to celebrate Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, history and achievements.

The event was held at the Champion Centre in Seville Grove on July 4 with over 3000 people were in attendance.

Indigenous musicians performed throughout the day including Motown tribute act The Merindas, blues and rock band Hot Likwid and hip-hop artists K.P and DJ EDUB.

The event began with a traditional smoking ceremony and a traditional dance led by Mungart Yongah Aboriginal Dancers.

More than 75 stalls were set up for attendees to browse and there were activities such as rock climbing and a pop-up photo booth.

The NAIDOC theme for 2017 was Our Language Matters which celebrated the preservation and revitalisation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

About 250 distinct Indigenous language groups are believed to have existed at the time of the first significant European contact with Australia in the late 18th century.

Today only about 120 are still spoken and many are at risk of disappearing entirely as young Aboriginal people are often not taught them.

National NAIDOC committee co-chair Anne Martin said Aboriginal languages embodied the understanding of all pre-European culture and were important to document and maintain.

“Each language is associated with an area of land and has a deep spiritual significance and it is through their own languages that Indigenous nations maintained connection with their ancestors, land and law,” she said.

Armadale mayor Henry Zelones said he was glad to see the event attended by so many indigenous and non-indigenous residents.

“NAIDOC is an important event on our national calendar and in our community,” he said.

“It is encouraging to see the growing number of attendees at our NAIDOC celebrations, especially from outside the city.”

“It shows a willingness to celebrate and learn more about our Indigenous community, and we expect the event will continue to grow in the coming years.”