Keep the fire burning! Blak, Loud and Proud

News story
Yesterday marked the start of NAIDOC Week 2024, a week-long celebration to honour the rich history, culture, and achievements of First Nations Australians.
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2024 NAIDOC Week logo

The theme for 2024, 'Keep the fire burning! Blak, Loud and Proud' reflects the enduring strength and vitality of First Nations culture, with fire symbolising the connection to Country, community, and the traditions that define First Nations Australians.

In line with this, we had the privilege of hosting Samuel-Yombich Pilot-Kickett and his mother, Dr Glenda Kickett, from the Whadjuk and Merriam Nations, at Prime House Joondalup.

Samuel welcomed staff to Country and conducted a cleansing smoking ceremony to promote wellbeing. Samuel played the yidaki (didjeridu) to open the ceremony and shared meaningful insights about the instrument.

Before inviting staff to walk through the fire and cleanse he told a Dreamtime story that his Pop told him when he was a young boy.

Samuel said the Kaarak (red tail cockatoos) noticed the Noongar people were cold and needed a campfire. The birds flew away to the sun and returned with fire. Warming the people and changing the base of their tail to a brilliant red.

The smoking ceremony set a reverent tone for the NAIDOC Week celebrations at the department, reminding participants of the ongoing journey towards understanding, respect and unity.

“Cleansing, healing, and protection mirrors our department's commitment to safeguarding our state’s unique biodiversity," said Director General Alistair Jones.

“It is also a reminder of our responsibility to each other. An embodiment of what we stand for — protection, sustainability, and respect."

To continue the NAIDOC Week celebrations of First Nations culture, the department is hosting a range of staff activities, including:

  • 'Acknowledge This' training to help everyone understand why Acknowledgements to Country are practiced, when and where they are used and how to do a meaningful Acknowledgement
  • Deadly Denim staff workshops at our office in Joondalup to promote Indigenous artists as well as reuse and upcycling
  • 'Brush and Brew' event led by local artist and department employee Narissa Cullen where staff can listen to Narissa's cultural story while creating art in a relaxed and supportive environment 
  • Blak Bingo where people can have fun, and learn First Nations cultural facts and information.