Adelaide has immersed itself in Torres Strait Islander culture to acknowledge Mabo Day and the final day of Reconciliation Week.
Mabo Day commemorates Eddie Koiki Mabo and his successful High Court campaign to officially recognise his people’s ownership of Mer Island in the Torres Strait and overturn the legal fiction of terra nullius.
The lunchtime session was led by Torres Strait Islander community leader Uncle Eddie Peters, who has been mentoring player Ben Davis as he learns more about his culture and heritage.
This journey was the inspiration for Davis’ design for Adelaide’s 2021 Sir Doug Nicholls Round guernsey, which features a number of Torres Strait Islander elements.
Peters spoke to the players and Club staff about his culture, generously sharing his knowledge through music, story telling and language, and finished the session by teaching the playing group traditional war chants.
Peters said it meant a lot to him to be invited to speak about his culture on Mabo Day.
“Uncle Eddie Mabo is important to Torres Strait Islander people, but also all Australians and our shared history,” Peters said.
“It is important for me to share my culture so people understand that we as Torres Strait Islanders are also an Indigenous cultural group here in Australia.
“Our people were warriors and head hunters, so hopefully the players remember some of the things I have shared with them when they play on Saturday.”
Davis was excited to see the playing group embracing his culture.
“I was just sitting there with a smile on my face while Uncle Eddie was doing all the songs and chants,” Davis said.
“It was awesome to see someone who has been mentoring me in my culture share some of those lessons with the rest of the boys.
“I hadn’t heard some of those chants before and getting a big group of people chanting them, it’s the closest thing I’ve had like what it would be like on the Islands.”