CULTURE, EVENT, VIC -

Christmas with a “black twist” to take over Federation Square

The Koorie Heritage Trust will host A Very Koorie Krismas this Sunday at Melbourne’s Federation Square to celebrate Christmas for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Victorians.

The free event will host a series of activities for families as well as the Koorie Krismas Market which will showcase art and design from the Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

The markets will sell Koorie Krismas gifts such as jewellery, handwoven baskets, artwork, clothes and native bush products.

There will also be performances from Wergaia and Wemba Wemba singer-songwriter Alice Skye, Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung singer-songwriter Carissa Watts, Djirri Djirri Dance Group and IHHP (Indigenous Hip Hop Projects).

Part of the celebrations will include a visit from Koorie Klaus, an Indigenous version of the traditional Santa Klaus.

Koorie Heritage Trust Chief Executive Tom Mosby said they wanted to create an inclusive event that represented the existence of Aboriginal communities in modern Australian culture.

“It is recognising that Aboriginal people are and should be part of any contemporary celebration, any contemporary urban city like we have here in Melbourne,” he said.

“It’s about saying to people that as a community Aboriginal people celebrate Christmas, we celebrate all these major holidays, but here we’re presenting it with the black twist, we’re taking ownership of something.”

With many non-Indigenous Christmas events being held at this time of year, Mr Mosby said A Very Koorie Krismas is unique as it demonstrates contemporary Indigenous presence in an event that is historically non-Indigenous.

“We celebrate Christmas in all our different ways, different forms, and within the Aboriginal community we do that as well,” Mr Mosby said.

“What we’re looking at is a black takeover of Federation Square … each year they have the Christmas tree, they have Santa, it’s all very non-Indigenous.”

Mr Mosby said there is a public perception both within Melbourne and internationally that there isn’t a strong Indigenous presence in Victoria.

He hopes this event is a reminder to non-Indigenous Victorians that there is a thriving community within their capital city.

“A lot of people, not only internationally but also people living in Melbourne, tend to forget that there is a contemporary, alive, distinct Aboriginal community down here,” Mr Mosby said.

“Not everything is happening up north in Queensland or the Northern Territory or Western Australia … you actually have an Aboriginal community here as well.”

A Very Koorie Krismas will be held Sunday December 8 at Federation Square between 11am and 4pm.

By Sarah Mozley

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