Indigenous round: The Importance of Family and Cultural Awareness
Dylan Potter, Ethan Penrith and Kyle Thomas have a special reason to be proud this week. This week, the AFL celebrates its annual Indigenous round, and clubs such as the Northern Knights are embracing the week as well.
The boys all took part in the AFL’s Laguntas Program, a program for young Indigenous players which provides the opportunity to further their development on and off the field with a strong focus on improving their understanding of their cultural heritage.
“Leadership on and off the field, connecting with the boys, my family and my culture” are just some of things Thomas said he learnt from the program. Meanwhile, Potter stated it was great to meet with other players just like them, “bringing the brother boys together, playing with each other, learning about culture with people in the same situation us was great”.
Culture was the focal point of the program, something that means a great deal to all the boys. Penrith explained it as “something [he’s] extremely proud of; to be part of the longest living cultures in the world”. Thomas echoed that statement, describing how it “means a lot to not only [him], but to [his] family as well”.
The Indigenous round has become one of the most important weekends in the AFL calendar, and the boys hope that non-Indigenous people can learn from this week. Thomas hopes that can occur.
“I hope we can all come together, come to the games and celebrate”.
“I just want people just to appreciate our culture and be more supportive of it” added Potter.
Penrith said he hoped that “everyone can just take as much as they can out of this week” and that “it’s great the AFL show respect and awareness for the Indigenous round”.
The boys say that AFL does a fantastic job in recognising its Indigenous players, and that players like Adam Goodes, Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli are all players they’d try to mould their own games around.
To commemorate the round the boys will be performing a war cry prior to the Dreamtime game between Essendon and Richmond on Saturday night.
The Korin Gamadji Institute Director Aaron Clark, hopes the war cry will be embraced by everyone.
“The key themes of the dance revolve around ‘Respect earth, ancestors, people. We are fast, strong and hunting. Together we are Laguntas (Tigers)
“It is a celebration of cultural pride and reconciliation, which underpins the story behind Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round.”