Sid Anderson and Matthew Brown from Papunya went to Melbourne in October to present at the “Well Being, Not Winning” symposium held by the Global Indigeneity and Reconciliation Program of the Global Cities Research Institute at RMIT. Blair McFarland from CAYLUS accompanied Sid and Matthew to Melbourne and was co-presenter at the symposium with Sid.
The symposium was developed to generate an open and honest discussion of the role that participation in organised sports plays in the lives of Indigenous communities and in particular in the lives of young Indigenous males. Significantly, the symposium was also developed with a critical approach in mind as participants were asked to consider not only the benefits of sporting participation but also the costs that may be associated with Indigenous participation in non-Indigenous controlled sporting competition.” Quote from Tim Butcher, Senior Lecturer, RMIT, one of the symposium organisers.
Sid and Blair’s presentation about the Wilurrara Tjutaku Football League generated a lot of interest from the symposium participants, as the WTFL is a genuine grassroots initiative that addresses many of the issues affecting young men in remote Aboriginal communities. Some of the people Sid and Matthew connected with in Melbourne have offered various forms of support and encouragement for the development of the WTFL, and are eager to stay in touch with what’s happening out bush.
For Sid and Matthew, attending the AFL Grand Final at the MCG was a highlight of the trip. The cold wet weather did not dampen their spirits at all, particularly as the team they were barracking for (Sydney Swans) won in the last few minutes of a very close and exciting game.
The WTFL will kick off their summer comp in November 2012, with 7 teams playing: Papunya Cats, Papunya Eagles, Walungurru Hawks, Walungurru Blues, Ikuntji Swans, Mt. Liebig Football Club, and the Antjalkatjarra Crows.