15 months ago, the West Coast Men's & Mixed Netball Association (WCMMNA) made a commitment to promote the inclusion and support of Western Australian Indigenous netball players coming through the Men's and Mixed, West Coast Thunder netball pathway. Even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and a physical disconnect between the Thunder family it was important to the association that we make significant steps forward to ensuring a culturally safe place for our Indigenous athletes and staff to develop and perform on a national level.
Engagement with prominent Indigenous athletes within the WA netball community, including ex West Coast Fever and now Southside Demons Open coach Josie Janz-Dawson, West Coast Thunder athlete Tobiasz Millar and next generation star Donelle Wallam resulted in a roadmap and steps the association can take to recognize and honour Indigenous culture within the WA Men's & Mixed pathway. These steps include;
Cultural awareness training for staff, athlete and committee members
Official welcome to country for our travelling members in-state of Championship participation
Indigenous playing uniform (2021) and travel uniform (2022)
Indigenous Playing Uniform
WCMMNA engaged local Indigenous designer Jareen Wyatt, a Wongutha/Yamatji woman to assist with our 'away' uniform design. We are extremely excited to announce that the design is complete and has been approved by our governing body, AMMNA for use at the Australian Championships. Teams will predominantly use the design for our 'away' fixtures, however may use more often as required if there is a colour clash with other participating state uniforms.
The story and meaning behind the design, from Jareen can be found below and we encourage you having a read and taking a look at the design - imagining your favourite Thunder athlete wearing it over Easter!
"Thank you for choosing my artwork as the design for your Indigenous Kit. I am honored. As your team is from WA and have the name West Coast, I decided to represent the whole state, with an aerial view of the coastline. The seven positions of the netball court are linked together as a team and connected to the land and all the different backgrounds we all come from all over Western Australia. The design is mirrored on the back to show that as a team, you are connected together and the land, going right through your body and soul."
We also spoke to Thunder athlete, Toby Millar about the design and what it means to him for us to celebrate Indigenous culture and have an Indigenous playing uniform, here's what he had to say;
"The introduction of a First Nations playing kit, is a great place to begin in regard to recognizing the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
When I see sporting teams and organizations putting the effort in to actively learn and acknowledge First Nations people it brings myself and many First Nations people much pride and an overwhelming feeling of acceptance.
Being a part of a sporting organization such as Thunder who are actively trying to be better in educating themselves about First Nations issues and acknowledging them is a great achievement for West Coast Thunder and for First Nations people."
Scroll down to see the different pieces of the Indigenous kit and how good we will look showcasing the Indigenous culture of WA