First Nations peoples and cultures will be recognised and celebrated when the Suncorp Super Netball League holds its annual Indigenous Round over Rounds 5 and 6.
The opening round coincides with National Reconciliation Week, which this year focuses on the theme 'More than a word. Reconciliation takes action'.
The round is split over two weeks so all eight Suncorp Super Netball clubs can showcase their engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in front of their home crowds. The Melbourne Vixens' Indigenous round will be held in round 6 - Saturday, 5 June at John Cain Arena.
Indigenous Round has been a feature on the Suncorp Super Netball fixture since 2018. It is an opportunity for the sport of netball to recognise the histories, cultures and contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
To commemorate the occasion, all eight clubs will wear specially designed dresses and cultural performances will be incorporated into match day activities.
The match balls will feature custom artwork created by Yorta-Yorta/Wurundjeri woman Simone Thomson. The artwork, which featured on last year's Indigenous Round match balls, is titled Winyar Mugacljina - Women's Track of Foot.
Netball Australia, the Suncorp Super Netball League, the Origin Australian Diamonds and the Confident Girls Foundation are committed to reconciliation, within the netball community and beyond.
Netball's 20 leadership entities signed a Declaration of Commitment late last year, pledging to take significant action to break down the barriers that have prevented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, coaches, umpires and administrators from flourishing in the sport.
A Steering Group has been formed to guide the Declaration of Commitment and work is underway to develop the First Nations Strategy Framework, which will support signatories with their engagement with our First Nations and address the challenges and barriers that First Nations peoples encounter in netball's pathway and elite programs.
Steering Group member and former Australian Diamond Sharon Finnan-White OAM, a proud Dunghutti and Gumbaynggirr woman and member of Channel 9's broadcast team in 2021, said Indigenous Round was an important part of the Suncorp Super Netball calendar.
"Many of us will be expecting this year's Indigenous Round to be bigger and better than 2020, and rightly so considering what happened last year - we as First Nations peoples want to see that actual progress is being made," Finnan-White said.
"The formation of the Declaration of Commitment Steering Group is just the first step to enabling this progress and for First Nations voices to finally be heard. The current netball system must be redesigned to better meet the needs of our diverse First Nations communities and provide appropriate pathways for our players, coaches, umpires and administrators."
"I am thrilled to bejoining four strong and knowledgeable First Nations women on this Steering Group to support Netball Australia and the netball bodies who have pledged to uphold the Declaration of Commitment so our ways of knowing, being and doing are valued and respected. We now have a seat at the table."
Netball Australia Interim CEO Ron Steiner said the organisation remains committed to listening to and learning from First Nations peoples and enacting positive change.
"Our actions must speak louder than our words and are through this we are making a long-term commitment to change," Steiner said.
"Indigenous Round is an important way that the sport of netball can recognise and celebrate First Nations peoples and cultures. This forms part of our commitments to reconciliation and to engaging more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our community."
Tickets for round 6 are on sale now and available through Ticketek.