Wiradjuri man leads powerful Diabetes NSW & ACT meeting

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ future was personified during a National Reconciliation Week Zoom meeting conducted by a young Wiradjuri man and Diabetes NSW & ACT Aboriginal Health Practitioner, Lachlan Madden.

Lockie led Diabetes NSW & ACT staff in a powerful meeting to mark the beginning of National Reconciliation Week from May 27 to June 3, despite most staff working from home because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Lockie and the First Nations Health Team emailed all staff before the meeting a map of Aboriginal and Torres Strait nations so we could write the name of a nation that was important to each of us.

We held up the name to our computer cameras to share with our colleagues the diversity and number of Aboriginal nations that were significant to us.

The beauty of Aboriginal names read by each of us internally as we scanned the signs added to the dignity of hearing the Aboriginal words Lockie spoke while encouraging us to reflect on the continuous fight for equality and recognition.

“My bloodline ties are to the Wiradjuri people of NSW but my heart and spirit lie with the Quandamooka salt water people of Minjerribah or North Stradbroke Island,” Lockie told us.

“Today I’d like to acknowledge the Toorabul and Yuggera Nations of Meanjin and to pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging.”

Some Diabetes NSW & ACT staff belong to the nations on the map, and others were identifying Aboriginal nations for the first time from areas we’re either currently living in now or where we grew up.

It was a powerful meeting of past and present for all nationalities that was evoked by Lockie asking us to embrace and share the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ ancient cultures and traditions.

This year’s National Reconciliation Week meeting was also addressed by Chris Lee, Manager of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement at Diabetes Australia, and Diabetes NSW & ACT CEO Sturt Eastwood who both spoke of the importance of the week and the commitment in acknowledging Reconciliation.

Chris asked staff to remember the significance for all Australians of the fight for justice and equality that is still being waged, and to acknowledge the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people past and present.

In the words of the National Reconciliation Week Committee: “Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation.

“At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“We all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures, and futures.”

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