Mackay celebrates NAIDOC through stories, weaving and dance  

[supplied by DATSIP]


Weaving Workshop: Deadly Weavers’ Felicity Chapman (left) and participant Kevin McPherson. Image: supplied

A series of free workshops honoured this year’s national NAIDOC theme ‘Always was. Always will be.’


The theme recognises that First Nations peoples have occupied and cared for this continent for more than 65,000 years.

It is an opportunity to acknowledge the lived experiences, centuries of resilience and ongoing contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Local Elders Aunty Veronica Ah Wang and Aunty Kerged (Joyce) Ghee shared their personal stories as part of a storytelling workshop.


Deadly Weavers owner Felicity Chapman hosted weaving sessions with Torres Strait Islander Elder Rosaline Bourne.


“As a descendant of the Stolen Generation, weaving provides the way to connect with my culture,” Ms Chapman said.


“It creates a safe space for participants to explore and share their stories. It helps me manage the frustration and anxiety of living with a disability.


“Most importantly, it connects and allows us to dream big. Our young people are the future leaders and together we can weave the new way forward, creating healthy, inclusive and sustainable communities for everyone,” she said.


Former Bangarra Dance Theatre performer and Mackay local Patrick Thaiday held a dance workshop bringing together Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous peoples.


“Dance has the ability to honour culture, bridge differences and bring people together,” Mr Thaiday said.


“Dancing is an integral part of our culture whether it’s for ceremony, telling traditional stories or NAIDOC celebrations. This medium allows those dreamtime stories to be shared through a creative lens and brought back to life in the present day,” he said.


The workshops were a joint initiative between the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships with local Elders, community and business owners.

Supporting partners included Artspace Mackay, Feros Care Mackay, Mackay Regional Council and the Department of Youth Justice.


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