Each December, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, among others, take over our thoughts and our wallets as we participate in ceremonies our ancestors have practised for as long as we can remember. These are all example of traditions. And in most cases, traditions are accompanied by rituals.
In observance of Mental Health Week, Voices for Harmony in collaboration with Shepparton Interfaith Network conducted a forum, Religion and Mental Health at GOTAFE on Friday, 9th October. In this account, local identity, historian and well known book reviewer, Pat Crudden - who coordinates Socrates Cafe at the University of the Third Age - has kindly shared his thoughts about the speakers who presented at this forum.
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NAIDOC Week for 2015 was celebrated with enthusiasm and energy in Shepparton and surrounds. On Monday, there was a breakfast and launch of Naidoc Week with a flag raising, attended by many community leaders. There was a tour of the Mooroopna Flats on Monday afternoon, the Dungala Kaiela Oration on Wednesday, followed by the Algabonyha Roundtable on Thursday. On Friday, Shepparton Library conducted a screening of "Our Vote Counts", a documentary featuring local Yorta Yorta women.
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NAIDOC Week was launched in the Goulburn Valley on Monday 6 July with a smoking ceremony and breakfast at Rumbalara in Mooroopna. The week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The theme for this year's celebrations is We All Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate. On Monday afternoon, Uncle Leon Saunders led a guided walking tour of The Flats, a place of historical significance to the local Aboriginal community.
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Aglow International hosted NAIDOC 2015 at their monthly meeting on Wednesday, 1st July. Indigenous Men, women and families across the region were invited to a gathering for the 3rd NAIDOC luncheon at Kyabram Bocce Club. There was a welcome to country and guest speaker Dayana Woodbury from Tamworth community (Gamiloi nation).
Report Racism aims to create an environment where you can feel confident and safe to report any cases of racism you experience or witness (including racial discrimination and vilification).
Report Racism is a third party reporting initiative which means that people can report racism online or at a local community organisation as well as directly to Victoria Police or the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
Report Racism is trialling this initiative with the Aboriginal community. The Commission has partnered with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and Victoria Police. Report Racism is being trialled in two locations – Northern Melbourne (City of Yarra, Darebin and Whittlesea) and Shepparton.
The Shepparton Interfaith Network was invited by the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to appear and make submissions to the Committee during its visit to Shepparton, which took place on Wednesday, 13 August 2014. Appearing for the Shepparton Interfaith Network were the President, Dr Frank Purcell, PhD, and the Secretary, Rev. Chris Parnell. A submission was made to the effect that the constitution, by way of preamble or insertion of a new section into the constitution, should recognise the spiritual dimensions of the cultures, languages and heritages which give purposeful meaning to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.