NAIDOC Week 2020: Always Was, Always Will Be

13:00 | 12/11/2020 Events

(VEN) - The Australian Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City organized a NAIDOC Week Reception for Australian alumni and the Australian community on November 10 in Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate the history, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are Australia’s First Peoples – they are recognised as the oldest continuous culture on Earth.

Across Australia (from November 8-15), communities come together to celebrate NAIDOC Week. In Ho Chi Minh City, the Australian Consulate-General brought together members of the Australian alumni and broader communities for a reception that showcased the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and explained their significance as an essential part of contemporary Australian identity.

Julianne Cowley, Australian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City said: “Each year in Australia, NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The theme for NAIDOC this year is Always Was, Always Will Be, recognizing that First Nations people have occupied and cared for the Australian continent for over 65,000 years. We are proud to share this history and these vibrant cultures with our communities in Vietnam.”

The event also took participants on a virtual journey to the Pilbara region in Western Australia – a region that not only boasts magnificent landscapes but also has rich and diverse Indigenous heritage with more than 31 Aboriginal cultural groups. The Pilbara also has a vibrant art and cultural scene, with several Aboriginal arts initiatives. One of the most notable entreprises is Goolarri Media Entreprises, which has developed a pathways program for young local Indigenous girls to develop a career in the arts and media industries.

A highlight of the NAIDOC Week in Ho Chi Minh City was a conversation with Betty Tran, an established Australian Vietnamese fashion entrepreneur originally based in Western Australia. In 2014, Betty undertook an ambitious project to mentor a group of talented, young Aboriginal women, many of whom took part in Goolarri’s programs. The project culminated with an opportunity for the young Pilbara women to walk the runways of New York as part of a Betty Tran Designs fashion show.

Betty Tran said: “It was a wonderful experience learning about the unique sense of community and the spiritual connection with the land that the Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara shared with me. I came into the program originally as a mentor, but the girls have taught me so much more and given me incredible inspiration for my work.”

My Phung