Celebrating Indigenous Round: AFL Canberra

AFL Canberra is gearing up to commemorate and honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, as well as acknowledge the invaluable contributions of First Nations Australians to our beloved game.

This celebration will take place during the upcoming two rounds, fostering an environment of appreciation, education, and inclusivity.

Around the Grounds

Tuggeranong Valley v Eastlake Demons

Tuggeranong Valley and the Eastlake Demons will come together for the fifth consecutive year to commemorate this special occasion.

Teams will engage in a smoking ceremony, a traditional practice to cleanse and purify the playing field, and a Welcome to Country, which acknowledges and respects the traditional custodians of the land.

Both sides will compete in their specially designed jerseys in honour of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

Following the matches, an awards ceremony will take place to present the Gerrit Wanganeen Trophy. This esteemed award, named in honour of Gerrit Wanganeen, pays tribute to his remarkable contribution to the Tuggeranong Valley Australian Football Netball Club (TVAFNC) and football in Canberra overall.

Gerrit, a proud Narrunga man, began his playing career with Tuggeranong at the age of 16 in 1992. He went on to play an impressive 396 games for the club.

After his playing career, Gerrit continued to dedicate much of his life to the club and football in Canberra. He took on mentoring roles for young Indigenous players and represented TVAFC in several positions.

Gerrit Wanganeen is regarded as a true legend of the club and AFL Canberra.

Ainslie Football Club

The Ainslie Tricolours will be hosting the Queanbeyan Tigers for Indigenous Round and have partnered up with the Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (TOAC) to commemorate this special day.

The day will feature a smoking ceremony and a Welcome to Country led by Richie Allan, TOAC’s Cultural Director.

Excitingly, Ainslie will take the field wearing specially designed Indigenous jerseys for the first time.

TOAC proudly represents the Ngunnawal people, the Traditional Custodians of the Canberra Region. They constantly strive to find new and innovative ways to improve the lives of Indigenous people.

To find out more about TOAC, visit: http://traditional-owners.com.au/

Batemans Bay Seahawks

The Batemans Bay Seahawks will have a home match against the Ainslie Tricolours during Indigenous Round in the Community grade.

The club has made arrangements for a local NAIDOC (National Aboriginals and Islanders Day Observance Committee) group to perform traditional dances, conduct a smoking ceremony, deliver a Welcome to Country, and raise the Indigenous flags.

NAIDOC is an organisation that aims to raise awareness of the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

To find out more about NAIDOC, visit: https://www.naidoc.org.au/

Yass Roos AFC

The Yass Roos will have the privilege of hosting the Eastlake Demons at their home ground for the Community Men’s Division 3 match.

As part of the Indigenous Round, the Yass Roos will commemorate the occasion by wearing specially designed jerseys, participate in a smoking ceremony and deliver a Welcome to Country.

Written by Liam Wyllie