GOTAFE Goulburn Valley League Celebrates its Indigenous Rounds
The GOTAFE Goulburn Valley League (GVL) in conjunction with Major Naming Rights partner GOTAFE hosted a NAIDOC Dinner last night in Mooroopna. The dinner was a key milestone of the Leagues Cultural Sporting Prevention Project led by GOTAFE’s Koorie Unit Coordinator Tracy Hardie and saw the launch of the Leagues Indigenous Apparel.
Coinciding with NAIDOC Week, the GVL Community came together to celebrate the culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across our communities.
In June 2022, the League announced that it was the successful recipient of a funding grant of $147,000. The funding is from the Preventing the Cycle of Violence – Strengthening Families Fund offers an expansion of the Cultural Sporting Prevention Project implemented in the KDL.
It has been led by GOTAFE’s Koorie Unit Coordinator Tracy Hardie, in partnership with the GVL and AFL Goulburn Murray. This is a whole of league initiative, with all 12 member clubs participating.GVL Board Chair Jacqui Hudgson said, “The Indigenous Round is always a special round in the GVL’s calendar. Last night was a fantastic opportunity to instil Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and understanding across our League and surrounding communities.”
Hudgson continued by saying, “Last night was the launch of the second part of this project. From this year onwards, the GVL will celebrate the Indigenous Round over two rounds. All three football and five netball teams from each of our clubs will be outfitted in Indigenous designed apparel.”
Clubs were given the opportunity to work with their own artists to create their own unique designs, or work with the Project’s artist. The designs for each club were created by contemporary local artist Alkina Edwards. Alkina is a proud Yorta Yorta, Wemba Wemba, Mutthi Mutthi and Wiradjuri woman on her mothers side and a proud Bundjalung and Wakka Wakka woman on her fathers side.
All clubs will utilise Alkina’s designs, with the exception of Echuca who will use their own design.
Hudgson said, “We were absolutely thrilled to present our Indigenous Apparel designs to the wider GVL Community and feedback received was outstanding. Alkina has out a tremendous amount of work into each individual design and we cannot thank her enough. We were all absolutely blown away by each and every design and we look forward to seeing the designs on our players across the next two weekends.”
The League’s netball umpires and all League officials will also wear Indigenous shirts whilst all GVFUA umpires will don Indigenous shirts as well.
Hudgson said, “We are proud to partner with project lead Tracy Hardie and our Major Naming Rights Partner GOTAFE to deliver this project to our clubs. The opportunity to create greater understanding and knowledge of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders history and culture whilst promoting the No Violence message is incredibly powerful. We look forward to ensuring the success of the project in 2023 and beyond.”
The initiative has included a Say No to Violence round that took place on 27 May with Rochester hosting the feature match of the round. The round contributed to a near regional response from communities to raise awareness of violence. All senior football and A grade netball participated in a line up for a player address and shook hands before matches commenced.
AFL Goulburn Murray Region Manager Shaun Connell said, “The expansion of this project into the GVL will continue to nurture and grow the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians across our region. It will promote greater cultural awareness which will further enhance these relationships as we work together to also raise awareness of violence and it’s impacts on our communities.”
GOTAFE Project Lead Tracy Hardie said, “Sporting communities offer the perfect setting to target men, women, young people and families to deliver our key messages. Expanding the project will contribute to a regional response to raise awareness of violence and instil an understanding of Aboriginal culture and history paving the way for future generations.”