To all members of the University Blacks community,
My name is Tyrone Bean and I am a proud Kabi-Kabi and Bindal man from south east Queensland and Townsville currently studying a Masters of Teaching at the University of Melbourne.
Next Saturday the 27th of May is Indigenous Round across the nation in all country, suburban and metropolitan football leagues. This year is not only the 125th year the Victorian Amateur Football Association has been in existence, but it is also the 50th anniversary since the 1967 referendum.
In terms of history, there is no more perfect time to have the first ever Indigenous round celebrated by a progressive football club like the University Blacks. In terms of contemporary history, the University Blacks have brought Indigenous issues to the surface of the league and will continue to celebrate Indigenous culture and provide a safe space for Indigenous Education, affairs and history.
The University Blacks have become the leader in the competition and this wider VAFA community in acknowledging and celebrating Indigenous culture and influence on the game we all play. Indigenous round to me symbolises an arena where the public can view Indigenous culture positively and to celebrate the influence Indigenous peoples, athletes and cultures have had on the game that stems from Marngrook.
I feel blessed to be able to play footy when, not so long ago, my uncles, aunties and grandparents were not allowed to play, or chose not to play, because of the discrimination and ignorant racial vilification they endured on a regular basis.
The club hierarchy has come together with myself in wanting to celebrate Indigenous culture and these positive influences that have flowed into to the game we all play.
This weekend the University Blacks will celebrate Indigenous Round, with a pre-game ceremony consisting of a welcome smoking ceremony to both teams by a Wurundjeri Elder Aunty Diane Kerr and traditional dancing performed by a University of Melbourne student and his family, who have bloodlines to Wurundjeri Country and Yorta Yorta country. The University Blacks will also wear an Indigenous Round jumper which has been designed by Alex Kerr and myself.
Check out what the design of the jumper represents here.
We would like to thank Melbourne University for sponsoring the making of the jumpers and also apparel company Grashan, who have worked with us on the design and printed the jumpers in time for this weekend.
The pre-game ceremony will start at 1.50pm, with the match kicking off at 2pm.
Tyrone Bean, Melbourne University Blacks Footballer