NAIDOC week and beyond


July was a busy month for Leprena, the Tasmanian home of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.

The Leprena team was involved in several activities for NAIDOC week, which celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

This year NAIDOC week was held from 8 to 15 July, coinciding with the 15th Assembly of the Uniting Church.

On 9 July Leprena representatives attended an indigenous flag-raising ceremony conducted by the South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation at Fanny Cochrane Smith’s Church in Cygnet. Methodist convert Fanny Cochrane Smith, who died in 1905, is the only recorded speaker of Tasmanian Indigenous language.

Smith family Elders attended the ceremony, including ‘Poppy’ Stan Smith, ‘Nanny’ Bev Smith, Uncle Charlie Smith and Aunty Anne Smith.

On 11 July the Leprena centre in Hobart hosted a NAIDOC community lunch in partnership with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community Legal Service (TACLS).

Approximately 40 people attended, with a number of representative from local community organisations as well as high school students.

“TACLS provided a beautiful BBQ lunch with salads and also decorated the building,” Leprena administration officer Tameeka Jamieson said.

“We had Linton Burgess as our cultural dancer. There was plenty of sport for the kids including football and cricket. It was a great day.”

The theme of this year’s NAIDOC week was “Because of her, we can” to honour the strength of Indigenous women.

This tied in with Leprena’s work to encourage victims of domestic abuse to share their stories and ‘End the Silence in Violence’.

In late June Leprena launched a DVD of story sharing at the Derwent Entertainment Centre in Glenorchy.

There were cultural performances and Leprena manager Alison Overeem spoke about the healing power of stories.

To celebrate the strengths and culture of Indigenous children Leprena also organised a family barbecue for 3 August.

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