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NAIDOC Week 2019's theme is 'Voice. Treaty. Truth.'
This theme acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy.
This year is also being celebrated as the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, as a time for Aboriginal knowledge to be heard through Aboriginal voice.
As the METRONET Aboriginal Engagement Coordinator and Noongar man Mark Bateman shares, the past can’t be changed, but it can be acknowledged
“From today and every day going forward, we can commit to creating an atmosphere of collaboration, understanding and a genuine willingness to deliver positive change that provides opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people” he said.
The METRONET projects are being delivered on land within the Whadjuk and Gnaala Karla Booja Indigenous Land Use Agreement areas. Because of this the team has been working to implement the Gnarla Biddi Strategy with Noongar custodians, to listen to Aboriginal knowledge and stories through local Aboriginal voices.
One of the ways METRONET aims to do this is through the Noongar Cultural Input into Place Making engagement stream. In collecting shared stories about each place that projects will be built in, we can help to ensure Noongar stories and culture is represented in the infrastructure that is designed and built as part of the METRONET program.
This work has helped us to understand a few stories associated with the land we are working on:
Noongar Custodian Geri Hayden, shared:
"Noongar people are special. They are the first astronomers, scientists, botanists, conservationists, care-takers, designers, farmers and builders. This was the [Indigenous] lifestyle for thousands of years."
Noongar Custodian Doreen Nelson shared:
"It’s part of our culture, sharing unna."