Welcome to NAIDOC Week 2013!


The Parramatta Eels are proud and happy to be taking time this week to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


From players like Chris Sandow, Luke Kelly and Willie Tonga, to our loyal Eels fans, to the local indigenous people of Parramatta and great former Eels like Steve Ella, Dean Widders and David Liddiard; Even the name "Parramatta" has its roots in the language of the local indigenous people of Sydney's west, the Darug.


As a clan of the Darug, the Burramattagal people have called Parramatta home for 60,000 years, and Burramattagal is thought to come from Aboriginal words describing the head of the Parramatta River: 'burr', meaning 'eels' and 'fish'; and 'matta', meaning fresh running water.


Traditionally, the Darug were bounded by the Kuringgai to the northeast around Broken Bay, the Darkinjung to the north, the Wiradjurito on the western fringe of the Blue Mountains, the Gandangara to the southwest in the Southern Highlands and the Tharawal to the southeast in the Illawarra area.


Today descendents of the Darug people still live in the Western Sydney regions, and comprise the largest population of Aboriginal people in Sydney.


We still use words drawn from the Dharug language every day, like dingo, koala, boomerang, Toongabbie, Mulgoa, Cattai, Colo and Yarramundi.


And at game day on Saturday at Parramatta Stadium, we will mark the week with an acknowledgment of country, a celebration of traditional Indigenous music and dance, and the support of the crowd as the Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander players of the Eels and the Panthers take to the field.


The acknowledgment of country is a way of showing respect for the traditional custodians of this land - it's a privilege to stand on the grass at Parramatta and play the game we love.


The NRL will mark NAIDOC Week with a community day at NRL Headquarters, while the Eels will join Parramatta City Council for the Burramatta Family Fun Day at Prince Alfred Park on Sunday, July 14.


Click through for more information on NAIDOC Week 2013.