NAIDOC Westlakes was interviewed on ABC radio earlier in 2016.
The following is an excerpt from the interview:
Hundreds of people converged on Toronto’s foreshore on Tuesday for one of Lake Macquarie’s largest NAIDOC Week events.
The family fun day, run by NAIDOC Westlakes, attracted Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, musicians, food vendors and stalls run by support organisations in the New South Wales Hunter region.
“It’s a special thing to be here — to actually meet people and greet [them], and share our food,” said chairman of NAIDOC Westlakes, Amos Simon.
“It’s a great thing for the community … a chance to come today and celebrate and share a bit of knowledge with them as well.”
NAIDOC Week theme provides a chance to reflect
The theme for NAIDOC Week 2016 is Songlines: the living narrative of our nation.
Mr Simon said songlines were special to Aboriginal people because of the strong link to country they created.
“Back in the day, people travelled and because they had nothing to write on we remembered it through song and dance,” he said.
“Where you’re born, and where you end up in your life, or you travel, you remember through songs. My songline is a long way from where I’ve ended up, which is like a lot of people.
“We’ve all got our songlines, and it is a major job to find out all about it.”
Mr Simon said he hoped the Toronto family fun day educated the broader community about Indigenous culture.
“NAIDOC to me means about family, about loved ones,” he said.
“You participate in a lot of stuff through community and everyone’s got something to teach, everyone’s got something to learn. Aboriginal people, and Torres Strait Islander people — they share their knowledge.”