Feeling the eels in the Milarri Garden pond.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
Museum visitors and staff are invited to celebrate NAIDOC Week in a vibrant program of events at Melbourne Museum between 5-12 July. This is the 52nd annual NAIDOC Week and the theme this year is Honouring Our Elders, Nurturing Our Youth.
NAIDOC stands for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee first organised a week of national activities to promote education and awareness of Aboriginal issues. Held annually in July, this week is now known as NAIDOC Week.
Many of the museum's 2009 NAIDOC Week activities are created and presented by Indigenous staff from several departments. It includes presentations about Indigenous artefacts at the Malmsbury and Parkville Youth Justice Centres, and special cultural tours of Milarri Garden at Melbourne Museum. Participants in the tours will explore plants native to south-eastern Australia and how they were utilised for food, medicine and fibre, plus see the Milarri Garden eels feeding.
On 7 July Damien Bell from the Gunditjmara community and Dr Ian McNiven from Monash University will present a lecture about archaeological research into ancient aquaculture. The Eel Trap Dating Project at Lake Condah investigates the development of the eel trap systems used for thousands of years to harvest eels. The talk will also highlight the Lake Condah Sustainable Development Project, and the Gunditjmara community’s work towards the Gunditj Mirring Keeping Place.
A new exhibition in the Community Exhibition Program, Ngujarn and Nakun: Our Eyes, Our Footprints, opens on 10 July. This exhibition tells the story of the Mullett family through artworks from four generations of family members. Films from the Message Sticks 2008 Indigenous Film Festival are also showing at Bunjilaka throughout the week, which is a great opportunity to see some rarely-screened films.
This range of activities celebrate Indigenous culture and history and honour the achievements of Indigenous people. The programs were developed by the Indigenous Cultures Department and Bunjilaka. Bunjilaka is Museum Victoria’s Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum, while the Indigenous Cultures Department manages and researches the museum’s expansive collection of Indigenous art, artefacts, archaeological items, photographs, archival documents, and film and sound recordings.
Full details of the NAIDOC Week program are listed on the Bunjilaka website.