Cassie Leatham Taungurung woman of the Kulin Nation
Carer Information and Support Service Team Planning Day
NAIDOC Week was 8-15 November 2020. The theme this year ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’, recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. NAIDOC 2020 invited all Australians to embrace the true history of this country – a history which dates back thousands of generations. It’s about seeing, hearing and learning the First Nations’ 65,000+ year history of this country - which is Australian history. Find out more on their website.
On Monday 9 November in celebration of NAIDOC Week the CISS team at FCAV enjoyed a session with Cultural Educator, Cassie Leatham. Cassie is from the Taungurung people from the Kulin Nation. She is an Indigenous artist, designer, master weaver, traditional dancer, bushtukka woman and educator.
We invited Cassie to conduct a two hour session as part of team planning in recognition of NAIDOC Week and the importance of cultural awareness in our work. We explored Aboriginal Art symbols and used paints to draw our own personal stories. The team shared their stories with each other using painting and Aboriginal symbols to tell their stories. The session provided a depth of experience increasing our knowledge of Aboriginal culture. See Cassie's website here.
Art Therapy Sessions for Carers
During the restrictions of the pandemic, FCAV trialled art therapy sessions for carers over a six week period. Fifteen carers were invited weekly over a six week period to participant in a two hour art therapy session. For one of the sessions, Cassie Leatham was a guest presenter, and ran a basket weaving lesson for carers. She provided rich knowledge and information about the significance of basket weaving in her culture. The group was engaged and made some beautiful woven items over a number of weeks. Another session was by guest presenter, Emma Bamblett who focused carers on rock art. Emma spoke during the session of the meaning behind rock art and generously shared the cultural significance to the engaged group.
A number of the participating carers have aboriginal children in their care and had many questions in relation to providing information and knowledge to the children in their care. An interesting issue was raised in relation to gender and what can be shared and taught to children in care by their carers and other Aboriginal Elders.
The FCAV is hoping to expand this offering in 2021 and engage with a male Aboriginal artist to provide more knowledge and learning to the groups we work with where gender is culturally significant.
We are planning to run a Cultural event at Cranbourne Botanical gardens early in 2021.
NAIDOC Week Celebrations
FCAV engaged Cassie to run a session for all staff on Bush Tucker to acknowledge NAIDOC Week . Cassie makes her own range of bush spices and teaches others how to cook with them. We learnt to identify native plants, learn traditional and medicinal uses in native indigenous plants and cook some tasty treats using bush spices.
NAIDOC Week giveaways
To celebrate NAIDOC week the FCAV gave carer prizes including: ticket to attend an online NAIDOC Week Artist Talk & Workshop, hosted by Saretta Fielding, a Wonnarua women from the Upper Hunter Valley. We gave away Deadly Story and Wildlife and Nature Colouring In Activity Book and My Deadly Culture 2021 Diary.