The First Nations Rugby Committee, which comprises representatives from both Rugby Australia and the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team, are encouraging Clubs across the country to recognise the importance of making progress towards Reconciliation by supporting First Nations Month.
Rugby Australia will launch First Nations month during NAIDOC Week, which will be held across Australia in from July 2-9. It's a chance to celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The theme for NAIDOC Week in 2023 is For Our Elders, and there are many ways your club can amplify that message.
We would like to congratulate the clubs that have been recognising and celebrating the history and culture of First Nations peoples for several years through specially designed apparel and large-scale local events and look forward to seeing those initiatives continue in 2023.
There are many ways your club could get involved
- Organise a Welcome to Country
- Deliver an Acknowledgement of Country
- Arrange a Smoking Ceremony
- Encourage your members to educate themselves on the importance of events like NAIDOC Week, Reconciliation Day and Mabo Day
- Raise an Aboriginal Flag
- Re-affirm your commitment to ending racism and having a no tolerance policy at your Club
The best way to get organised
Throughout Australia there are established organisations with cultural responsibility for caring for their country. Depending on the State or Territory, the responsible organisations might be local Aboriginal Lands Councils, Traditional Owners groups or other organisations established for this purpose. AIATSIS has great advice on hosting a Welcome to Country and identifying the Traditional Owners of the Land that your club is based on.
A Welcome to Country can only be delivered or authorised by a Traditional Custodian of the Land, however Acknowledging Country can be delivered by anyone. Acknowledging the Traditional Owners is a sign of respect and acknowledges the ancestors and traditions of First Nations peoples. Further advice on a Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country is available at Reconciliation Australia.
If you are aware of any Aboriginal locally owned and operated businesses that could provide services on the day, as an example catering or an artist, get them involved. You can use Supply Nation to find verified Indigenous businesses that can assist your club.
Most importantly, if you have First Nations people in your club engage with them and see if they would like to be involved in planning the day!
Contact your member union to find out when they will be hosting their First Nations Round. If you don't have a game scheduled on that day, please consider holding you First Nations Round on any weekend in July.