Celebrating NAIDOC Week
NAIDOC WEEK 2020 | 8-15 November
Always was. Always will be.
We are be proud to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of some of our past and present indigenous players!
Broadmeadows Basketball recognises the rich Aboriginal heritage within the municipality and acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung, which includes the Gunung Willam Balluk clan, as the Traditional Custodians of this land. BBA embraces Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander living cultures as a vital part of Australia’s identity and recognises, celebrates and pays respect to the existing family members of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and to Elders past, present and future.
Naomi Moke (nee Pedro)
Naomi is a 2 time Championship player for the Broncos from the 2007 & 2008 seasons and is part of the Broncos Team of the Decadef for 2001-2010. She was also part of the Lady Broncos Runners Up at the Australian Club Championships in 2007, and was selected as an All-Star 5 of the tournament.
She has played in the WNBL for the Townsville Fire and the Bulleen Boomers. Naomi now coaches in Queensland, Cairns Dolphins. Last year, she was part of the Australian Indigenous Basketball Squad, who got to travel to Melbourne to play against Hawaii before the Boomers vs USA game at Etihad Stadium (Patty Mills also got the group into a USA training session).
Naomi was born in Cairns, Queensland, with her father from the St Paul’s Community on Moa Island in the Torres Strait, and she also has family connections in Murray Island and Mabuiag Island.
Her Mother and Father moved to Cairns with her older siblings for better opportunities, but Cairns is highly populated with Torres Strait Islander people so she was still able to grow up with the culture and speak the language.
Playing sport enabled Naomi to mix with non-indigenous people and to learn different cultures, as well as sharing her own culture with them, which Naomi continues to share her story and culture now.
When Naomi played for the Broncos in 2007 and 2008, not many people knew about Torres Strait Islanders, and a Torres Strait Islander flag was rarely seen. Melbourne is a completely different population and culture from Cairns. Naomi was able to put Torres Strait on the map for the Broadmeadows Community.
Naomi reflects on her time with the Broncos and in Melbourne away from her family. “Glen (Milner) and Patsy were great (when I came to the Broncos), as through their Indian culture they hold a similar value of family connections, which reminded me of my own family at home.”
During the AFL Indigenous Round in 2008, Naomi’s cousin (who is both Torres Strait and Aboroignal) came down to watch Naomi play with the Broncos. After the game, much to the confusion of Naomi, she found her cousin in the changerooms. Glen invited her to the changerooms to acknowledge the first nations of Australia. It was simple but it was much appreciated.
Naomi also talks of an Aboriginal family in Epping that she was close to; the Bamblett Family. She said they welcomed her and it was like a home away from home. She jokes that when she went back to Cairns she talked in a lot of Aboriginal slang instead of her native Torres Strait Creole.
“I met so many beautiful people and I am still in contact with a lot of the girls from Broady, still close to a lot of them on social media.”
Naomi is now strongly involved with the Phoenix Sports and Culture Club; a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to improve life outcomes of Australians by promoting a healthy and active lifestyle and encouraging sporting participation and community engagement. The club encourages cultural immersion and fosters social and emotional wellbeing, job readiness, education and training opportunities through sports and recreation.
“For some kids, they have no real family connections at home, but at Phoenix they are able to find family within the sporting club”.
NBL up and coming star Tamuri Wigness (Brisbane Bullets) and WNBL player Cayla George (Melbourne Boomers) are also involved in the club.
Through Phoenix, Cairns dolphins and life in general, Naomi is always excited to share her experience and culture, and loves to see when others embrace it.
Naomi is super excited about the recent announcement of NBL’s Reconciliation Actions Plan, especially of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing Officer. “I’m smiling. I would have loved that at the time I was playing at the highest level, but I’m happy and proud, (it’s) better late than never.”
So, what does NAIDOC Week mean to Naomi?
“For me Naidoc week is about recognising, acknowledging and celebrating the first nations people, and then moving forward as one, together. For me, I live on Aboriginal land in Cairns, and I recognise that this is their land first and foremost and then moving forward together as one, and hoping to educate the non-indegnous (and I need to be educated as well) on the culture.
That’s what the Phoenix Sports and Culture Club is about, embracing and educating on all different cultures, and within the club, we are all one and out on the court for the same goal.”
Naomi is now a busy mother with her kids now participating in sports and aspiring to be professional athletes. but still uses her voice to educate others on the Torres Strait culture.
“Half the time it’s just people don’t know (about Aboriginal and Torres Strait culture). But let’s learn and be open minded.
Always Was. Always Will Be.
“It doesn’t make you less Australian (not being indigenous), it’s just acknowledging that it’s Aboriginal land, and moving forward together as Australians on Aboriginal land.”
“I would love the world to know that Australia has such a rich culture behind it. Learn about it and embrace it.”
Marshall Kearing played with the Broncos in season 2019, winning the club Youth League MVP, averaging over 16 points and 10 rebounds per game.
He was the Youth League 1 Men’s Player of the Month twice in 2019 and continued his strong form impressing in the US College system playing
for the State College of Florida, and has now signed with the University
of South Alabama.
Marshall was born in Pinjarra, Western Australia (Pindjarup) and is a proud Binjareb Noongar man. He also has partaken in traditional dances with Mungart Yongah
led by Alice Kearing and Nigel Wilkes.
“I have an immense amount of pride in where I come from and my culture. It’s what keeps me strong wherever I go.”
Video from Aussie Prospects.