In celebration of NAIDOC Week, I thought I would feature a wonderful program at the Edmund Rice Centre called Weaving Culture that brings women of a different background together.
Having worked in the Mirrabooka community for several years, Kylie Graham and Esther Kickett became aware of the gap in education of many newly arrived migrants about Noongar culture and people. To address that gap they created Weaving Culture, a program where women from migrant, refugee and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds come and learn about Noongar culture from Noongar yorga (women) through weaving and yarning.
The opinions and beliefs of many new arrivals have been influenced by the media and white educational systems – leading to the impression of negative stereotypes and general uneasiness about Aboriginal people. Weaving Culture was founded and run by Noongar women, in a way that is culturally appropriate for all involved. It is hoped the program will educate participants and enlighten them about Aboriginal communities, culture, and connections.
It has also been a great way of finding commonalities between the cultures as the women talk animatedly while weaving, each learning from each other.
Weaving Culture is also reflective of the ongoing commitment of the Edmund Rice Centre as they work with people from refugee and migrant backgrounds as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
There are many ways across Australia to celebrate NAIDOC Week and recognise the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The theme this year is Always Was, Always Will Be, which recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. Programs like Weaving Culture build understanding and trust in these principles.