On Friday 15 July, Positive Life NSW ran our annual NAIDOC Week event, this year with Koori Kinnections, who introduced participants to traditional elements of Basket Weaving.
This face-to-face event was not just for our Indigenous brothers and sisters but welcomed everyone who wanted to participate including community members, Positive Life staff and volunteers. We met in Darlinghurst at the East Sydney Community and Arts Centre (Heffron Hall), and I started the workshop with an Acknowledgement of Country. All attendees introduced themselves and shared what they hoped to get out of the day.
We began the morning inside the Centre, however once the sun started to shine, we moved the tables and the weaving materials outside. I think many of us had forgotten how good it felt to be in good company, having a yarn in the sun with each other in person.
Our workshop facilitator, Jess was a great teacher going around to each of us and assisting when we needed some expert support. This allowed participants to just sit back and have a yarn, laugh, de-stress from everyday life and learn a new skill. Many of us have continued with our weaving, using it as a calming and relaxation tool in our daily lives.
Our group of 15 participants were diverse group, with the only commonality for most of us being our HIV status even though that wasn’t a focus of our time together. This was not just a time to learn how to basket weave but was also a chance to hear personal stories from Jess, Aunty Kerrie and myself. We shared stories and experiences from the past, impacts of colonisation, the effects of trauma and how we work through and support our family. We also spoke about what this year’s NAIDOC messaging, ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’, meant to us.
Since the workshop, attendees have shared what a relaxing event it was, with good food and great company. Our caterer even made a delicious lemon myrtle cheesecake.
Positive Life is planning to offer future Aboriginal cultural events to highlight and share more of our knowledge and practices with you. It was a wonderful time for all of us to share our stories of culture and dispel myths through truth telling.
Positive Life is here to support and empower all members of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community living with HIV in NSW. We can help you to access services and information that improve our health outcomes. As the Aboriginal Peer Support worker, I am available to assist you in navigating the healthcare system, connect you into the programs and events that Positive Life offer, provide health promotion information and onward referrals.
You can call us on (02) 8357 8386 or 1800 245 677 (freecall) and speak with myself Michelle Tobin, Aboriginal Health Program Officer, or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org