AFL star Eddie Betts kicked off NAIDOC Week at Bendigo TAFE

Australian rules football player, Eddie Betts, kicked off Bendigo’s virtual NAIDOC Week (8- 15 Nov) festivities by delivering a powerful webinar speech to the TAFE’s community.

Sally Curtain, Chief Executive of Bendigo TAFE, said it was an honour to have the Carlton player and former Bendigo Kangan Institute student as their keynote speaker.

“We were thrilled Eddie Betts was able to join us for NAIDOC Week and share his personal experiences around racism, cultural awareness and his journey to the AFL,” said Ms Curtain.

“Embracing our aboriginal culture and paying genuine respect to the traditional custodians of our country is very important to me personally.

“Eddie’s speech was nothing but inspiring. He spoke from the heart and attendees said he helped them gain a better understanding the issues Indigenous Australians face and the importance of embracing our indigenous culture.

“At Bendigo TAFE we are a diverse and vibrant organisation and we have much to be proud of. Understanding our country’s cultural heritage and sharing that understanding with our students is our responsibility as educators. We need to take that responsibly seriously,” Ms Curtain continued.

NAIDOC Week, which has been moved from earlier in the year due to COVID-19, stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee and the group’s origins date back to 1920. “We were not going to let the coronavirus stop us from observing this important week,” said Ms Curtain.

“We celebrate NAIDOC Week every year at Bendigo TAFE but this is the first time we’ve delivered our full program online,” she added.

Some of the other NAIDOC Week festivities that took place virtually, included:

  • Welcome to Country
  • Flag raising by CEO Sally Curtain
  • Performance by the Djirri Djirri Wurrundjeri Women’s Dance Group
  • Traditional Smoking Ceremony