Australian Open to witness Indigenous culture at its first Nations Day

On Wednesday, January 18, 2023, the Australian Open will observe First Nations Day by hosting a jam-packed program of art, food, and performances to honour the world’s culture with the most extended continuous history of human habitation.

First Nations Day is now a permanent element of the Australian Open after the enormous success of the inaugural event in 2022. Seven-time Grand Slam winner Evonne Goolagong Cawley and three-time Grand Slam champion and indigenous Ngarigo woman Ash Barty will also participate in the event.

During the trials held at the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival in Darwin and the training sessions held in Victoria, a team of 14 First Nations ball kids was chosen from all around the Country to compete in the Australian Open. This team will also be present during the tournament.

Aunty Joy Murphy AO, a Wurundjeri Senior Elder, predicted that the First Nations Day celebration that will take place at AO 2023 would be fantastic.

Tennis Australia has collaborated closely with our community to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of Aboriginal people and culture.

Tennis Australia has expressed its support for the Uluru Statement of the Heart. It has encouraged the continuation of the national dialogue to finally formalize a long-lasting and suitable voice for First Nations people within the federal parliament.

Our sport is built on the principle of inclusive participation. Our goal is to continue to work closely with members, players, and Indigenous elders in the communities in which we play to assist in realising the aspirations outlined in the Uluru Statement of the Heart. This is done to honor our proud First Nations sporting heritage.

The day will be filled with a variety of activities and performances, including a traditional smoking ceremony and welcome to country performance as the gates open, a traditional dance, instrumental, and storytelling performance featuring Dharung man and professional didgeridoo player Kiernan Ironfield, Wurundjeri women’s dance group Djirri Djirri Dancers, and Koori Youth Will Shake Spears, a dance group based in Melbourne; and a traditional smoking ceremony and welcome to a country performance featuring Wurundjer.

Chenile Chandler will give a Call to the Country, and performances will be provided by Mitch Tambo, Lee Kernaghan, and Isaiah Firebrace at Rod Laver Arena. Additionally, Indigenous art displays will be spread throughout the venue, and Stan Yarramunua will do live art demonstrations.

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