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Welcoming babies to Country – Building stronger families through culture

7 July 2018

A significant cultural event will take place as part of this week’s NAIDOC celebrations in Queensland’s Moreton Bay region this Saturday, when First 1000 Days Australia, local community development organisations Mindle Bygul and others including Elders of the Gubbi Gubbi Nation will re-imagine an ancient Aboriginal ceremony; the welcoming of new babies to Country.

First 1000 Days Australia – the Australian model of the international 1,000 Days movement – acts as a catalyst for strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by strengthening families. It is informed by decades of research which reveals that providing the best possible care to children from pre‐conception to two years of age, will lay the best foundation for their future health and wellbeing.

More than 23 babies and their families will be welcomed to Gubbi Gubbi Country at Deception Bay by a local Elder. First 1000 Days Australia Regional Implementation Manager, Jackie Bennett, says the ceremony will ensure that Aboriginal babies are connected to Country that they live on and their culture.

'A strong cultural identity is key to raising strong, healthy children and the brutal dislocation suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people under past government policies has often caused real disruption to the passing on of cultural knowledge,' she said. 'This ceremony is a critical component of First 1000 Days Australia’s efforts to strengthen children’s cultural identity and promote families as key ingredients in health and healing.'

Mindle Bygul service manager, Deb Cleary, said Aboriginal culture was an important factor in the resilience and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. 'Bringing together the families of our new-borns, both mothers and fathers, will also be a strong catalyst for strengthening our Aboriginal fathers in their critical role of child rearing and passing on culture.'

'This is why the involvement of the local men’s group, Deadly Dads, established to better engage fathers, is such an important step.'

Ms Cleary said that Aboriginal men had been long demonised and made to feel inadequate as fathers. 'Saturday’s ceremony is a way of our community publicly rejecting this demonisation,' she said. 'We want our fathers to play their sacred role, attend men’s antenatal classes and have the opportunity to talk to other men about the transition to fatherhood.'

The ceremony will include dancing, each baby will be presented with a Gubbi Gubbi name, certificate and gift from a local Elder.

The Moreton Bay Welcome Baby to Country ceremony
Barujugan Park (Watertower Park)
Corner Captain Cook and Endeavour Streets
Deception Bay
10 am, Saturday 7 July

For more information and to arrange interviews and vision of the ceremony:
Al Harris MagpieMedia – T: 0409 658 177 / E: magpiemediaoz@gmail.com

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