In July 2014 Archie Roach produced an outdoor NAIDOC concert within the walls of the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre with the support of Parkville College, a specialist registered Victorian Government school within the precinct.
The concert brought together young prisoners, Indigenous Elders, family and community and members of the justice community. Archie and Sydney based songwriter and soul singer, Radical Son performed but the concert highlight was when a young client took to the stage to rap about his own family's story which he was inspired to write after a previous visit from Archie.
It was a pivotal moment for Archie and cemented his desire to support, mentor and create meaningful and life changing opportunities through the arts for other younger First Nations artists, particularly those who find themselves at the crossroads. For Archie it was about giving back and passing on what he had been given from people he met along his own journey that became signposts to point him in a different directon when he was off track. For Archie it's his cultural responsibility.
Following the 2014 NAIDOC event Archie became the Patron of Parkville College and staged two more NAIDOC concerts inside the precinct in 2015 and 2016 which featured performances by multi award winning hip hop artists, Briggs and Trials as A.B Original.
In July this year the Foundation held an event at Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre with all the Indigenous student cohort. Uncle Jack Charles, the foundation's Ambassador and Council of Elders member joined Archie and two other performers, Nancy Bates and Corey Theatre, to celebrate NAIDOC with students and staff.
Archie is proud to announce an initiative that sees Nancy Bates working with the Foundation as an Indigenous Wellbeing Program Coordinator to facilitate a cultural and arts program that works with young Indigenous people in youth detention centres,
The primary purpose Nancy’s role will be to connect and consult with young people and the Foundation's Council of Elders to develop, implement and evaluate a diverse Indigenous wellbeing program to connect young Indigenous people to their culture and identity, through arts practice.
For Parkville College, this partnership with the foundation reflects its commitment to developing a Culturally Responsive Teaching model.
Archie's life mirrors many of the young men and women who find themselves incarcerated and caught in the recidivist prison system. He knows the pain and trauma of being separated from your family, culture, community, language and story. For Archie music has been his salvation. It is through song and story that Archie shares his spirit to help heal the pain.