Stormy skies threatened to disrupt NAIDOC Week celebrations at BRHS yesterday, as a large crowd of community members, patients, visitors and staff gathered to celebrate the culture and achievements of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and recognise the central role that Indigenous people and communities play in the health service.
But just as BRHS’ Bonnie O’Shanassy laid her gum leaves onto the flame to send smoke billowing over participants in the Smoking Ceremony, the few drops of rain quickly gave way to bright sunshine.
For BRHS it was a particularly special occasion, with the opening of the “Yarning Garden” outside the Oncology and Dialysis building, that was been designed and built by members of the Gunaikurnai community and based on local Aboriginal concepts of healing, yarning, water and other natural features.
Following the Welcome to Country, Flag Raising and Smoking Ceremony, visitors were led on tours of the new garden by the designer of the Yarning Garden, Alfie Hudson, whose exuberant passion for the project and the people that helped make it happen inspired and captivated all who heard him speak.
“This is not just a place for Indigenous people,” he said. “This is a place for the whole community.”
To learn more about NAIDOC Week, visit www.naidoc.org.au