By Peter Argent
At a press conference at the Art Gallery of South Australia on Monday afternoon, with the walls of the venue decorated with Indigenous Art, the AFL proudly announced Aunty Pam Pederson as this year’s AFLW Indigenous Round Honouree, in recognition of her contribution to her community and the football industry.
Aunty Pam, a proud Yorta Yorta Elder is the youngest daughter of Aboriginal leaders, VFL footballer Pastor Sir Douglas Nicholls and 2008 Victorian Honour Roll of Women Inductee Lady Gladys Nicholls.
Aunty Pam follows in her parents’ footsteps as an advocate for the rights of Aboriginal people.
AFL Executive General Manager Inclusion and Social Policy, Tanya Hosch, explained Aunty Pam’s contribution to football has added to an already incredible family legacy for young people and future generations.
“Aunty Pam’s achievements across sport and advocacy is remarkable,” Hosch said.
“She has served on numerous committees and boards and provides valuable guidance and leadership.
“In particular, Aunty Pam has made a significant contribution to the lives of young people in the court system, offering counsel and sharing her own experience to promote cohesion in Aboriginal families and communities through her work with the Koori Court.
“We’re truly proud to have Aunty Pam as this year’s Honouree and we know that the football community will be pleased to see her recognition.
“This is the third season we’ve have had an official Indigenous Round for the women’s competition, which is a powerful platform in highlighting the importance of understanding inclusion and respect of Indigenous peoples and cultures, which will always be prominent in our game.
“The AFL is continuing its commitment to ensure all Indigenous communities have the same access and opportunities in our game – from the grassroots level, all the way through to our pathways to the elite competitions.”
In these dedicated AFLW Indigenous rounds – rounds three and four of season seven – the AFL will pay its respects to the Traditional Custodians of the land each match is played on, with ground signage at matches to feature the name of the Traditional Owners, and a representation of the Aboriginal Women’s art symbol on the outside of the centre circle.
Each of the 18 AFLW clubs will wear specially designed Indigenous Round jumpers across these rounds.
The officials at each match are joining in the spirit of the rounds.
Each AFLW umpires will also wear uniforms designed by two students from Worawa Aboriginal College. The design is a collaboration of two separate pieces of artwork by current students Kyanna McIntosh and Kylinda Alice.
“The 2022 AFLW Season Seven Indigenous Round is a fantastic opportunity for fans to celebrate the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the football community” General Manager Women’s Football Nicole Livingstone said.
“We’re so proud to celebrate, acknowledge and honour the contribution from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women within our industry and to do it with a complete 18-teams competition is fantastic.
“We start off the round with a blockbuster match-up between Fremantle Dockers and the Western Bulldogs followed by Round Four, which will also have the first ever AFLW Dreamtime match with Richmond and Essendon set to make history at ETU Stadium.
“Indigenous Round has become a highlight of the fixture following its inaugural year in 2021, and we can’t wait to join our fans in supporting Indigenous stars on the field this weekend.”
In the men’s game, the AFL first named their “Indigenous round” after Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls in 2016.
Along with being a legendary Indigenous advocate, he was an Aboriginal pioneer in the VFL, he played for Fitzroy for five seasons in the 1930s and represented the “Big V” on four occasions in 1935.
He also enjoyed success with Northcote in the Victorian Football Association as well.