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Nicky Winmar announces return of many healing ceremonies at Victoria Park

Jarred Cross -

Indigenous footy icons Nicky Winmar and Nathan Lovett-Murray are putting culture, community and performance at the centre of this Sunday's Ngaara Jarra Noun Healing Ceremony at Victoria Park in Naarm.

12 months ago, more than 3000 people arrived at Collingwood's old home ground to recognise 30 years since Winmar responded to racist abuse from the crowd in one of the most enduring images and moments in Australian sporting history.

"I'm Black and I'm proud," he said at last year's event.

The ceremony came as the AFL grappled with a string of racist attacks on First Nations players and while the Hawthorn racism saga continued to engulf the sport.

A host of Indigenous former players, other sportspeople, community leaders and league executives joined for a powerful evening.

"It's time for all this to stop. Enough is enough," Winmar said in his address to the crowd.

At the launch at the ground on Thursday, Winmar told National Indigenous Times coming back to the ground still brings back memories.

He said the healing ceremony is here to "let the people know that we're still here to support them".

Winmar said returning to the ground still brings back memories. (Image: Jarred Cross)

In 2024, the cold autumn night switches out for an afternoon gathering opening to the whole community, with music, dance, food, Indigenous and allied business and coming together for healing.

"Our event is going to invite the entire community both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non Indigenous people to experience the healing of the longest living culture in the world," Kamilaroi, Wiradjuri, Kuku Djungan, Gangalidda and Nyawaigi musician and Mindful Mob Healing Market founder-director Maylene Yinarr said.

"So bring the family bring the kids can't wait to see you there."

Essendon icon and organiser, Lovett-Murray said this year is a tribute to Rumbalara and Fitzroy Stars local Aboriginal football and netball clubs, but the idea is bigger than sport, with plans to continue year on year.

He told National Indigenous Times it's about "resilience against racism and promoting healing through ceremony and culture".

"It's a massive day," Lovett-Murray said.

"It an open invitation to everyone...It's a free event. It's not just an Indigenous event. It's open to the public. So we want as many people to come down and show their support."

The Ngaara Jarra Noun Healing Ceremony runs 2-6pm Sunday April 21 at Victoria Park, Abbotsford.


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