NAIDOC WEEK KICKS OFF
THIS week’s opening of Naidoc week in the Douglas Shire was full of pride and emotion.
For indigenous elder, Janice Walker, Naidoc week is extremely special.
“This is when our community, the Kuku Yalanji people, can come alive and show who they are and shine,” she said.
“They should know that they can be all the more proud during this one week.
“We don’t want to have to wait for Naidoc to spread the word about who we are, it should be every day of the year because Yalanji people have a lot to offer.”
Indigenous student leader from Mossman State High School, Lennox Schonenberger, said this year’s Naidoc theme, “Our Language Matters”, resonated with him.
“It focuses on the importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages,” he said.
“The theme aims to emphasise and celebrate the essential role indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to land, water and spirituality through stories and song. Our elders are the keepers of the land and language and we look to you for your guidance and wisdom to keep our language alive.
“As a young Kuku Yalanji person I understand it will be my generation who will be responsible for protecting and keeping my people’s language and culture alive for generations to come.”
The Kuku Yalanji “early readers” books created by the Muruku Group are now available for purchase, to help children learn the basics of the language.
Indigenous artist Lenice Schonenberger and girls from Mossman State High School performing "I am Australian" in the Kuku Yalanji tongue.