NAIDOC lunch marks an awakening

Jackson BarrettSouth Western Times
Karen, Sharon and Max Jetta with department of justice regional manager Stephen Fry and Max Jnr and Cassie Jetta.
Camera IconKaren, Sharon and Max Jetta with department of justice regional manager Stephen Fry and Max Jnr and Cassie Jetta. Credit: Jackson Barrett

An impromptu conversation over a coffee about the importance of NAIDOC week led to staff at the Department of Justice collaborating with the local Aboriginal community to host a lunch and smoking ceremony at Koombana Bay.

A crowd of police officers, cadets and others involved with the Department of Justice, as well as members of the public gathered for the event, which also featured local Aboriginal community member Maxwell Jetta speaking to the importance of NAIDOC Week and this year’s theme, Always Was, Always Will Be.

Department of Justice regional manager Stephen Fry said he was pleased with the turn out for the event, which his team hopes will continue to grow in the future.

“After today and going into next year we are going to form a proper committee led by the Aboriginal elders from the region because we want to get the message out there and have the theme for NAIDOC Week be the message that is getting out there,” he said.

“We really want to showcase the incredible history and culture of the Aboriginal people in the South West.

“We just want to bring everybody together to celebrate and enjoy the day.

“We work with a lot of young Aboriginal clients and we need to stop telling these kids and families how to work and we need to be working alongside our Aboriginal community and families and getting them to take the lead with the kids we are working with.”

Cassie Jetta’s family was heavily involved in the event, which she said was an important celebration of culture.

“To us and our people Australia-wide, NAIDOC is very important in being proud of who we are and our culture,” she said.

“It is the week in the year where everyone is really positive, so we look to connect and collaborate with each other but we are really calling out for people to come and join us and get involved.

“We can all learn about things we don’t know, move forward and help grow Australia.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails