Athletes from the NSW Institute of Sport have gained a greater appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture, starting at a place very close to their hearts – their own sporting venues.
In the lead-up to NAIDOC week from 8-15 November 2020, groups of athletes met with traditional landowners at their home training venue as part of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Share a Yarn initiative.
Rowing athletes Rowena Meredith and Emma Fessey shared a yarn with Darug Nation custodian Uncle Lex Dadd at the Rowing Australia Women’s National Training Centre in Penrith, and sailor Rebecca Hancock and cyclist Amanda Reid shared a yarn with John Hunter from the Muramara Cultural Council at Sydney Olympic Park.
Athletes shared a yarn with local indigenous custodians at six sporting locations around the country, learning about the history and significance of the land, but also building ongoing relationships with the indigenous community in their local area.
Activities took place in Canberra, Adelaide, Sydney and the Gold Coast. To acknowledge NAIDOC week and the theme ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’, the AIS release a video series highlighting these activities and encouraging all in the sporting community to learn more about the traditional owners of the land on which they train and compete.
Standing on the banks of Penrith’s Nepean River on Darug country, custodian Uncle Lex Dadd shared his knowledge of the local land and waterways with Australian Rowers including Emma Fessey and Rowena Meredith.
“The more we talk, the more we yarn and collaborate with each other, not only will we have reconciliation between everyone, but we’ll have reconciliation for mother earth” said Uncle Lex.
“It was really valuable to learn about the river we train on every day and I think it’s something we can take with us on our journey forward” said Emma Fessey.
Para-cyclist Amanda Reid is proud of her Aboriginal heritage and took part in the event at Sydney’s Olympic Park.
“Reconciliation means coming together and one path” said Amanda Reid.
“Being Indigenous, I felt it was a great opportunity to share my culture.”