Aussie Broadband staff share their stories to celebrate NAIDOC Week
Staff at Aussie Broadband have kicked off NAIDOC Week with a range of activities planned to celebrate the local indigenous culture.
Part of this included staff sharing their own personal story and reconnecting with their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity.
Gabs Reiter from Clyde North said she felt lucky to be part of a team that truly embraces acceptance of people from all cultures.
“One of the values at Aussie Broadband is ‘be good to people’ and I was surprised by how much my managers and colleagues really do embrace that.
“I only found out about my heritage a few years ago but I was lucky enough to grow up learning about aboriginal culture.
“We always suspected that my great grandmother had aboriginal heritage because she had this beautiful complexion. But it wasn’t until some relatives turned up at her funeral from the Murri tribe that we started to connect the dots,” Gabs said. “My great grandmother hid her identity because of the discrimination at the time.
“I grew up camping so I’ve always related to the love of the land and respect for mother nature. So, when I found out that aboriginal culture was in my blood, there was a feeling of completeness,” Gabs said.
The company’s NAIDOC Week program has been led completely by staff. It includes performing arts, indigenous foods, weaving stations and a kids’ colouring competition judged by renowned Gunaikurnai artist and Gippsland resident Ronald Edwards Pepper.
On Monday, staff were treated to a pre-recorded performance by Kurnai College’s Dedlee Kultya dancers. The group performed the song and dance Naanaa Nukindhere. This song reminds them to stay on the dreaming track, not to veer off in the wrong direction and to stay in touch with their culture.
The 2020 NAIDOC Week theme “Always Was. Always will Be” has been developed to shine a focus on the length of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander occupation of Australia.
NAIDOC Week celebrations are usually held in July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. But this year it was moved to November due to the pandemic.
Staff member Austin McFeeters, from Ringwood, said NAIDOC Week is an opportunity to bring people together.
“My great grandfather was from the stolen generation but I was raised in a traditionally non-indigenous family.
“I think it’s important to realise how difficult it is when you’ve been disconnected from the culture and you’re trying to reconnect. It’s always been something that I’ve struggled with, so it’s nice to have support groups at work to connect with people from an indigenous background.”
Harry Taylor, who is based in Aussie’s Morwell office, said he’s looking forward to taking part in the NAIDOC week activities.
“I am Aboriginal from my dad’s side. Although I was raised without him around, I have a deep connection with the community. I would like to learn more about my roots because I think it is important to understand where you come from. I’m so happy that Aussie Broadband helps facilitate this,” Harry said.
Community Impact Manager, Caroline Kennon said this was a time to reflect and to show support for our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
“NAIDOC Week is an important time for indigenous people as it is a time of celebration and connection with each other, community and country, and it is important time for Australians to celebrate their rich cultural history and achievements.
“Aussie Broadband is proud to be a part of those celebrations,” she said.
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Photo caption: Gabs Reiter’s Great Grandmother, Ellen Chriseva Eade with her grandson.