You mob may have heard that GEGAC is undergoing a bit of a change at the moment, a change that we hope is a good one that lasts for many years into the future.
It’s all about culture. Aboriginal culture.
Our goal is to make GEGAC a place that always represents and reflects our culture in everything we do, and that it is a place that is always culturally appropriate and safe for mob.
We want GEGAC to be a place that is distinct and different from mainstream health services in every way – from the sights and sounds you see and hear around our place, to the way we engage community, the way we celebrate community, and the spaces we create for mob to heal and be healthy.
One of the things our Cultural Team has been hearing a lot from staff and community of late is about the need for places where mob can come together to yarn, to connect with each other in a meaningful way.
Our Quaranook Community Engagement Program, headed up by Scott King and supported by the First Nations Gambling Awareness Foundation, also has the goal of creating safe spaces for community members and staff to come together. (Quaranook is the traditional Gunaikurnai word for ‘Meeting Place.’)
So, one of the things we are proud to be rolling out is a regular Wednesday yarning circle session.
Any yarn, any reason, and open to all community and staff, the yarning circle out the back of GEGAC’s main site will have a fire burning every Wednesday from 10am – 3pm (fire restrictions permitting) and it will be a place where people can always come to sit together, listen, hear and reflect.
Says our Interim CEO Josh Tuiono, the fire and the yarning circle have been a central part of Aboriginal culture for tens of thousands of years, a place where tribes cooked and ate, made weapons and tools, kept warm, and shared stories.
“Coming together like this, to sit around a fire and talk and share ideas and information, this is what we used to be about. And it’s what we want to bring back here.”Josh Tuiono
Josh said he hoped GEGAC staff would enjoy sitting around the fire on a Wednesday, to catch up in a more informal setting than a meeting room or teleconference.
“But I also see this as being a great place for our clients to come and yarn about whatever is happening with them, and we can be there to listen, or provide advice,” he said. “I think sitting around the fire like this is just a more comfortable place for mob. I hope it helps us continue to build trust in the community, to show that we are always here for you whatever it is that you’re going through.”