Melody’s experience of the Victorian RYA forum

by | Jul 1, 2022 | Bush Voices

Melody, a proud Koori woman, got to participate in a smoking ceremony held on the steps of Parliament House, as part of the Rural Youth Ambassador program. Together with the other Rural Youth Ambassadors, Melody met with the Minister for Education and Deputy Premier to witness the treaty bill be presented by inspiring First Nations representatives.
Read about Melody’s experience of the day below.

My name is Melody and I’m from Echuca.

I am a proud Koori woman and I’m a Rural Youth Ambassador. Yesterday I got to witness something that will not just be a significant part of Victorian history but Australian history.

Me and my fellow Victorian Rural Youth Ambassadors met on the steps of Parliament House where we participated in the smoking ceremony that introduced this monumental day, our first nations people will be acknowledged. We then were hosted by the Minister for Education and Deputy Premier to witness the treaty bill be presented by inspiring First Nations representatives.

I only saw happy prideful looks on people’s faces, it was such a positive atmosphere around the entrance to the parliament building. I had the experience of walking through and being cleansed by the smoke with Dana, my fellow Koori leader, and it was incredibly special. Smoking ceremonies are so spiritual, they help rid you of negative spirits, leaving you with only positive spirits and a positive mindset, which is very important for treaty discussions. It was great to celebrate my culture with my fellow Youth Ambassadors.

The Rural Youth Ambassadors were then invited to join the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria members and the Premier; we got to meet the minister for Aboriginal affairs and the two chairs of the Assembly, who presented to parliament.

While I don’t fully understand the impact of today, I hope I can look back on it in the future and really see the positive changes and I see today as one of the most inspirational days of my life.

I’m so happy I was involved in walking through the smoke with the Elders and witnessing the beginning of change for my culture on such a special day.

(For more information about Treaty in Victoria https://www.firstpeoplesrelations.vic.gov.au/treaty)