Keep the Fire Burning! Blak, Loud and Proud!

July 10, 2024

Whether you are a First Nations person or a First Nations ally, the 2024 NAIDOC theme is a call to action for us all.  We share a few reflections from our Taungurung community and staff to find out what this year’s theme means to them. Solidarity and passion shows up in many forms, it is what keeps the fire burning.

Aunty Joanne Honeysett – proud Taungurung woman, Cultural Lead for TLAWC and wawa biik cultural guide

A cultural fire, a cultural flame, which continues to burn. As our hearts continue to beat. Our flame will continue to burn, as it always has, and always will, and keep that fire burning We have lived with oppression. We have been unheard. Without a voice. In silence We have a voice. A strong united voice. A voice that is now heard. We are listened to. Our voices are loud and united. We pass our voices onto our next generation. We carry that fire and continue to be Loud proud and deadly!

Jen Grindrod – Taungurung ally and TLAWC staff member

As an ally to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, this year’s NAIDOC theme makes me think about how we can listen to First Peoples and enable their voices, ideas and needs to be heard and realised. It calls to me to do what I can to create or support the spaces for First People to keep that fire burning, to be Blak, Loud and Proud in the ways that they want and feel safe doing so. For me that’s about taking responsibility for my own learning and knowledge, educating those around me, my kids and my community, and facilitating First Nations voices to be present and listened to in the forums I have access to. It makes me check that my actions are constructive, and not extractive. And, it’s about a celebration, a joyous statement, that reminds me that when First Peoples can be Blak, Loud and Proud, when they are listened to and respected deeply, we all benefit. This NAIDOC week, I’ll be wearing my sparkly Mick Harding earrings and my Taungurung T-shirt and I’ll be there to listen to and celebrate Taungurung and other First Peoples’ voices – creative and profound, Black, Loud and Proud – wherever I can find them!

Bonnie Cavanagh – proud Taungurung woman and Chief Operating Officer TLaWC and Taungurung cultural guide- wawa biik

NAIDOC is a time for us all to proudly celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture. Even though this should be done always, it gives even us mob a greater platform and set moment to pause and reflect on our own achievements which is not done enough. The theme this year I feel is actually a powerful response to the devastating results of the referendum. ‘Keep The Fire Burning! Blak, Loud And Proud’ is a reminder that regardless of what has transpired, we are still here stronger than ever. No matter what is thrown our way, we will continue to show up and be proud of who we are and keep those inner flames burning strong!

Vanda Horne, Taungurung ally and wawa biik staff member

NAIDOC means to me an opportunity for all Australians to learn about First Nations Cultures and history and to be part of or participate in celebrations of the oldest, continuous living culture on earth. It’s also recognition, appreciation and celebration of Culture, very special and so proud to be a part of NAIDOC.

Chris Sutton - Taungurung ally and TLAWC staff member

NAIDOC Week is an opportunity to welcome all communities in celebration of the oldest living culture in the world. It is very humbling to be connected with Taungurung culture all year round as a TLaWC employee, but having dedicated weeks that unite both mob and allies builds advocacy and awareness across (and beyond) Taungurung Country.

It’s Jonah’s strong upbringing and sense of cultural identity that has inspired him to work for his mob and be part of the next wave of Taungurung people passionately protecting Taungurung culture. He works both as Field Services Officer completing cultural surveys and a wawa biik Cultural Tour Guide educating people about his culture - head to our bio to read his reflections. 

#culture#country#blog#tourism#tour#wawa#culturalheritage
Ashley Wilkinson is a proud Taungurung man of the Yeerum-Illiam-Balluk clan, which is below the Benalla and Mansfield area. Ash works as a Field Service Officer conducting cultural surveys and is also a wawa biik guide. We yarn with Ash to learn more about his perspectives regarding cultural heritage. It’s well worth pulling him aside for a yarn on our wawa biik tours too as he’s got some great insights to share. Head to our bio to read this blog. 

#culture#country#firstnation#aboriginal#taungurung#victoria#highcountry#regionalvictoria#tours#culturalheritage
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