By Molly Stapleton

The Korin Gamadji Institute (KGI) opened its doors to more than 2,000 people during the 2014 Dreamtime week, hosting ten different functions in celebration of the AFL’s Indigenous Round.

KGI Chief Operating Officer and Gubbi Gubbi man Alex Splitt, said the week was a fantastic celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, in what is now arguably the biggest home and away round within the AFL calendar.

“It was great to see so many community members involved in the week’s activities and it’s nice to know that the KGI play an important role in the celebration,” Splitt said.

The Dreamtime activities began with a visit from 40 young Indigenous men from the Rio Tinto Footy Means Business program. Running two camps each year, the program provides talent and employment opportunities for men from all over Australia. KGI staff delivered a tour and group session with participants, outlining the programs and facilities offered to Indigenous communities. The day concluded with a War Cry demonstration and a training session on Punt Road Oval.

The week also marked the official launch of the Indigenous Plumbing and Sanitation Foundation (IPSF). Established by the Plumbers Union, the IPSF aims to provide relief for Indigenous communities living with poor sanitation. The foundation aims to improve sanitation standards within Indigenous communities to improve health, while at the same time offering employment and training opportunities for Indigenous Australians.

The Power of Sport function, run by the Richmond Football Club, was centered around a panel discussion focusing on the importance of sport in communities and the role it plays in the lives of Indigenous Australians. Panelists explored the power of sport in improving social and community cohesion through increased interaction and developing a capacity to work together.

Over 1,200 members of the Indigenous community attended the 2014 Dreamtime Career Expo. The Expo, now in its third year, hosted 35 stalls advertising career pathways and crucial information for Indigenous job seekers. There were also plenty of raffle prizes to be won, including signed Dreamtime guernsey’s and football tickets.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags painted on Punt Road Oval
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags painted on Punt Road Oval

For the first time, both Richmond and Essendon extended the Indigenous Round celebrations to their VFL match. The Recognise logo was painted next to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags on Punt Road Oval. Richmond joined the AFL in declaring its support for the national campaign, which calls to recognise Indigenous Australians as the first peoples in the Constitution.

Senior Wurundjeri Elders Aunty Joy Murphy and Aunty Pam Pederson attended the VFL celebrations at the ME Bank Centre. Aunty Joy gave a Welcome to Country before the game, while Aunty Pam presented the Sir Doug Nicholls Award and Cup in honour of her father and his contributions to Indigenous rights and equality.

A group of 30 Alumni of the Richmond Emerging Aboriginal Leadership (REAL) Program formed the guard of honour in front of over 75,000 spectators at the MCG.

Among them was Marayne Muller, who said the experience “wasn’t about standing on the ground at the MCG and having your 30 seconds of fame.”

“It was about representing the past, present and future of our Aboriginal community and allowing people to recognise us and acknowledging the black Australian history with pride. We were there and we are important!” said Muller.

Korin Gamadji Institute continues build pathways and opportunities for Indigenous youth and future leaders.

REAL Programs are supported by the Victorian Electoral Commission