ANTaR ACT newsletter – June 2024

After so much happening in Reconciliation Week, our focus moves to NAIDOC Week, 7-14 July, and events to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. ANTaR ACT will have a stall at the NAIDOC in the North event, and again will partner with Us Mob Writers, selling copies of their latest book  “Kuracca”.

During NAIDOC Week we will be working on our campaign in the lead up to the ACT Election in October – but there is also another important election that is actually taking place during NAIDOC Week. This is for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body (ATSIEB). Their regular hearings with ACT Government officials have highlighted key issues of concern. The election for members of ATSIEB will be taking place during NAIDOC Week 2024, with polling booths at key events. For more information about the body and the elections see: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body (atsieb.com.au) and 2024 ATSIEB Election | Elections ACT.

ANTaR ACT Organising Group

The next meeting of the ANTaR ACT organising group will be online at 6pm on Monday 8 July. If you would like to join us and be involved in our ongoing advocacy and actions, please email info@antaract.org.au and we will send you the details.

ACT Election – joint campaign with Active Democracy Bean

On 26 May, Active Democracy Bean held a very enthusiastic and productive afternoon to launch their volunteer campaign in conjunction with ANTaR ACT. Thanks to Selina Walker, who set the scene with what is important, and to Caroline Le Couteur, who gave us insights into how to raise issues with MLAs. We are continuing to work on our messages and strategies, with ANTaR ACT developing briefing notes on key issues and a scorecard comparing the main parties. We are aiming to launch these publicly in August, before the election in October.

At this stage of the campaign, Active Democracy Bean is focussing on visiting elected representatives. We have developed useful tools and will provide all support. If you would like to be part of a group visiting your local MLA, we can put you in touch with the relevant coordinator: Alison for Brindabella and Murray for Murrumbidgee and other electorates.

To be part of this important campaign, including (but not only) visiting MLAs, please contact Active Democracy Bean (activedemocracybean@outlook.com) or ANTaR ACT (info@antaract.org.au).

First Nations fishing rights

One issue ANTaR ACT has long been following is around traditional fishing rights of First Nations people in NSW. The International Indigenous Fishing Symposium was held in May, in Kioloa in southern NSW. This brought together First Nations delegates from Japan, Taiwan, Canada, Alaska and Australia to talk about their experiences regarding traditional fishing rights. Find out more in this report by ANTaR ACT member Janet Hunt, who attended the symposium: International Indigenous Fishing Rights Symposium – ANTaR ACT.

NAIDOC 2024

This year’s theme celebrates the unyielding spirit of our communities and invites all to stand in solidarity, amplifying the voices that have long been silenced.

  • The fire represents the enduring strength and vitality of Indigenous cultures, passed down through generations despite the challenges faced.
  • “Blak, Loud and Proud” calls for a reclamation of narratives, an amplification of voices, and an unwavering commitment to justice and equality.

Through our collective efforts, we can forge a future where the stories, traditions, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are cherished and celebrated, enriching the fabric of the nation with the oldest living culture in the world. For more information: Home page | NAIDOC.

Events coming up: including NAIDOC Week

BIRRARANGGA Film Festival

Thursday 20 June – Sunday 23 June (7 events), National Film and Sound Archive
The NFSA is partnering with BIRRARANGGA Film Festival to celebrate Global Indigenous Films that explore the curatorial themes of ‘strength, resilience and the environment’. Curated by Wurundjeri (Woiwurrung)/Yorta Yorta screen creative and actor Tony Briggs and producer/curator Damienne Pradier, BIRRARANGGA honours that history and acknowledges the contemporary currency of the moving image, of film, as an expression of the human experience in relation to our natural surroundings.
More information and bookings: BFF at the NFSA — Birrarangga Film Festival and NFSA | National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

Tree carving on ANU Campus by Paul Girrawah House

Tuesday 25 Jun, 11 am and Friday 28 Jun, 2pm, Australian National University (different locations)
ANU invites you to experience First Nations culture and heritage come to life in this tree carving ceremony/practice on Country at ANU campus grounds by Paul Girrawah House, Ngambri-Kamberri Walgalu, Wiradyuri and Wallaballooa Custodian.
More information and registration: Tree carving on ANU Campus by Paul Girrawah House | Australian National University.

ACT NAIDOC Ball 2024

Saturday 29 Jun, 6 – 11pm, National Convention Centre, 31 Constitution Ave
Join us to celebrate 2024 NAIDOC Week – Keep the Fire Burning, 18+ event, ticket includes 3 course alternative menu, tea, coffee and cake. Limited drinks package and cash bar available.
More information and bookings: ACT NAIDOC Ball 2024 | Humanitix.

ACT Community Sector NAIDOC Event

Tuesday 9 July, MPOWERDOME (next to Yeddung Mura), Fadden
This event is held in partnership with other community sector organisations in the ACT, as a way to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture. This is a free event, open to the public. There will be activities and entertainment for the kids (and adults) and lots of free food. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses will be there to sell arts, crafts and other products.
Details to come and will be shared via Facebook and/or a future newsletter.

Aboriginal Plant Use Walks

Wednesday 10 July, 9.30 and 11.30 (2 sessions), Australian National Botanic Gardens
Learn about a range of important native plants with proud Wiradjuri man Adam Shipp. During his NAIDOC week walks at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, you will learn about a range of important native plants found across Australia.
More information and bookings: Aboriginal Plant Use Walks Tickets | Eventbrite.

NAIDOC in the North

Saturday 13 July, 11am – 2pm, Belco Arts, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen
NAIDOC in the North is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture through story, song, art dance and ceremony.  This free, family-friendly event is held in Canberra, on the lands of the Ngunnawal People, and welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds to learn from our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community through workshops, performances, activities and entertainment. NAIDOC in the North now in its 9th year, and is produced by Belco Arts in partnership with Yerrabi Yurwang Child and Family Aboriginal Corporation, Community Services Directorate, ACT Education Directorate and Northside Community Service.
More information: Belco Arts – Events at Belco Arts – NAIDOC in the North

Eric Avery in The Aboriginal Memorial

Sat 13 July, 11am, Gallery 9, The Aboriginal Memorial (Level 1), National Gallery of Australia
Debut performance of a new commission by leading First Nations violinist, Eric Avery, Kabi Marrawuy Mumbulla, Ngiyampaa, Yuin and Gumbangirr people. The performance was commissioned by the National Gallery in response to The Aboriginal Memorial, 1988. Eric Avery is a celebrated violinist, vocalist dancer and composer from the Ngiyampaa, Yuin and Gumbangirr people of NSW. He works with his family’s custodial songs and his haunting compositions often feature him singing while playing violin, predominantly in the Ngiyampaa language.
More information and bookings (free, bookings essential): Eric Avery in The Aboriginal Memorial – National Gallery of Australia (nga.gov.au).

Blak Douglas vs The Commonwealth

Saturday 13 July, 1pm, James Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia
Screening of Blak Douglas vs The Commonwealth followed by a Q&A with Blak Douglas, Dhungatti/German/Irish/Scottish peoples. Before winning the coveted Archibald Prize in 2022, artist Blak Douglas debuted one of his most emotionally charged works, Domestic Violets, at the National Gallery of Australia’s 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial: Defying Empire in 2017. The work features a portrait of his father’s mother, Clorine Morthem, Dhungatti people, at the centre. In this documentary, Blak Douglas shares his experiences of tracing his grandmother’s story.
More information and bookings (free, bookings essential): Blak Douglas vs The Commonwealth (2024) – National Gallery of Australia (nga.gov.au).

HORIZON – Bangarra Dance Theatre

Thursday 18 – Saturday 20 July, at the Canberra Theatre
Horizon is a double bill opening with Kulka by Bangarra alum Sani Townson, followed by the primary piece, The Light Inside, choreographed by Bangarra alumni Deborah Brown and Māori choreographer and Arts Laureate Moss Te Ururangi Patterson.
For more information and bookings: Horizon | Canberra Theatre Centre

Note: some ANTaR ACT members are going along to the matinee performance on Saturday 20 July and will go for coffee and discussion afterwards. Please let us know if you are going to that performance and would like to join us after the show.

Straight from the Strait – in conversation about the Torres Strait Island musical

Wednesday 16 July, 6pm, National Library of Australia theatre and online
Straight from the Strait is an upcoming musical set to premiere at the Brisbane Festival in August 2024. This is a tribute to the occurrence on May 8, 1968 where a track laying crew involving mostly Torres Strait Islander workers broke the world record for laying the greatest length of railway in a single day. Join Aunty Ruth Ghee, Uncle Luke Captain and Rhianna Patrick in a panel discussion about the details of this performance and why opera was chosen to tell this story.
The talk will be available to view live online via the Library’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
For more information and to book for in-person attendance (free, bookings essential), see: Straight from the Strait – in conversation about the Torres Strait Island musical | National Library of Australia (nla.gov.au).

Vincent Namatjira: Australia in Colour – FINISHING SOON

National Gallery of Australia, until 21 July 2024 | Free with ticket
This is the first survey exhibition of acclaimed Western Aranda artist Vincent Namatjira, charting his career, revealing the power of his painting and the potency of his words. Renowned for producing paintings laden with dry wit, Namatjira has established himself in the past decade as a celebrated portraitist and a satirical chronicler of Australian identity. His paintings offer a wry look at the politics of history, power and leadership from a contemporary Aboriginal perspective.
For more information and bookings: Vincent Namatjira Australia in colour (nga.gov.au)

Vincent Namatjira All Stars Studio – kids activity
Who is your hero? Visit the All Stars Studio and make a trading card of someone you admire to add to the All Stars Wall of Fame.
Free, drop-in, limited capacity
Every weekend and public holiday, and daily during school holidays, 10am – 4pm
For more information:Vincent Namatjira All Stars Studio – National Gallery of Australia (nga.gov.au)

Tasting Australia with Adam Shipp: Kennedy Garden tours and tea

Friday 2 and Saturday 3 August, National Museum of Australia
Enjoy the sights and scents of the season as Adam Shipp (Wiradjuri) of Yurbay Consultancies shares his passion for native plants. Each tour finishes with the opportunity to sample some of the flavours found in the Kennedy Garden and around the Canberra region.
For more information and bookings: Tasting Australia with Adam Shipp | National Museum of Australia (nma.gov.au).

ANTaR ACT wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which Canberra is situated, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people. We wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. We would also like to acknowledge other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may visit this area.

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