NAIDOC Week celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's history, culture, and achievements. This week is an opportunity to learn about Australia's First Nations and celebrate Earth's oldest, continuous living cultures.
This year's NAIDOC Week theme is Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!, a call to support and secure institutional, structural, collaborative, and cooperative reforms.
At BreastScreen Victoria, we're committed to showing up and achieving health equality for Aboriginal people. That's why we partnered with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) in 2018 to develop the Aboriginal Breast Screening Shawl Trial.
The shawls were made for Aboriginal women to wear during their breast screening to improve their experience with breast screening. Other objectives were to support Aboriginal women to screen together as a group and increase the BreastScreen Victoria staff's cultural competence.
The trial was a huge success and won a 2019 VicHealth Award in 'Improving health equity'. Since then, it was renamed the Beautiful Shawl Project, and the shawls have been used state-wide as part of BreastScreen Victoria's Mobile Screening Service. All the shawls feature art by local Aboriginal artists.
Jasmine-Sky Marinos, an Arrernte artist, designed the art for the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-Operative's shawl. She called it Kardeeneeyoo Toort-Barram; it means 'Morning Stars' in Wathaurong language.
"The rising sun represents a new day, and the stars above are our ancestors watching over us," she said in a statement.
Last week, Geelong BreastScreen unveiled Ms Marinos' art. It will remain on display at the clinic as a respectful display of cultural safety.
The Beautiful Shawl Project was captured in a heart-warming, 12-minute documentary filmed on Country and featured the reactions and feelings of Communities, staff, and clients.
For more information, events, and resources about NAIDOC Week, please visit naidoc.org.au.