Conference Activities – Cultural Program
In addition to the academic program, IAHA events place a strong emphasis on the cultural program of our national events.
As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people we understand the cultural determinants of health and that culture helps make and keep us well.
Some of the features of the cultural program include:
Welcome to Country and traditional dancing
As with all major IAHA events, we opened each with a Welcome to Country from a traditional custodian of the Larrakia Nation, tradition custodians od the Darwin region. The Larrakia people were featured throughout the program, providing an opportunity for delegates to share in their culture.
One of the preconference activities was a cultural tour, sharing traditional ways of knowing, being and doing with delegates. This included teaching about the local plants used for medicinal, bush tucker or other purposes.
Another feature of the preconference activities were the inclusion of Men’s and Women’s Yarning Circles.
The yarning circles were preceded by a smoking ceremony and provided a safe space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to communicate deeply with one another. This was particularly valued by our delegates and set the scene for the main conference program.
In providing feedback on the Yarning Circles one delegate said that:
“(The) women’s yarning circles really supported some strong relational elements that helped me let go and focus on the activity at hand, and not worry about what was going on at home or work. I was much more able to engage through the whole conference as a result. It also helped the networks grow naturally. I felt better.”
NPY Women’s Council presentation
Ngangkari (traditional healers) from the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPY Women’s Council) were featured as a plenary within the main conference program.
The Women spoke in language, sharing their role in the community as traditional healers and a story which highlighted the impacts of trauma and the need for healing. This powerful presentation is available via the IAHA YouTube channel and I encourage you to take a look.