Sunshine Coast Lightning have been challenged to become champions of the environment ahead of Suncorp Super Netball’s First Nations Round.

Round 12 and 13 is about raising awareness, celebrating and understanding the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to netball and the nation.

Starting with Sunday’s game against the Melbourne Vixens and continuing at home against the Collingwood Magpies on June 5, Lightning players and staff will wear specially designed First Nations dresses and polos.

The Club gathered in the yarning circle at University of Sunshine Coast’s Nga Tana Lui Dhar (Buranga Centre Garden) where they were presented with their First Nations dresses by Kabi Kabi woman, Aunty Hope O’Chin.

Dr O’Chin, or Aunty Hope, is an educator and artist who explained the significance of her design that features the ripples of the Sunshine Coast’s waterways, spear trees, a dragonfly and clusters that represent family grouping.

“You’re part of our family now too,” she said. “You’ve been blessed.”

Aunty Hope told the staff and players how Indigenous children are assigned an animal name at birth “as a totemic responsibility for us to be champions and warriors of the environment.

“It’s really spiritual. Sometimes we don’t believe in the spiritual.

“Think again, because there are some incredible things that you can’t explain. It’s part of your knowing.

“It’s part of the way in which we as humans can filter things through our bodies and be able to experience.”

Lightning looks forward to hosting their First Nations game against Collingwood in their final home game of the season on June 5 at USC Stadium.

Tickets are on sale now for the Lightning v Magpies First Nations match at USC Stadium on Sunday 5 June 2022, from 4pm

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