Se­na­tor at­tends NAIDOC event

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Rhi­anna Bull

QUEENS­LAND Se­na­tor Mark Furner was a spe­cial guest at yes­ter­day’s National Abo­rig­i­nal and Is­lander Day Ob­ser­vance Com­mit­tee (NAIDOC) cel­e­bra­tions at the Proser­pine Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

Mr Furner said the NAIDOC cel­e­bra­tions were a great op­por­tu­nity for the com­mu­nity to not only be ed­u­cated about in­dige­nous peo­ple but to cel­e­brate their won­der­ful cul­ture.

“I’m pretty for­tu­nate to have been on the com­mu­nity af­fairs com­mit­tee in the se­nate where we have a lot of in­volve­ment with in­dige­nous af­fairs and I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced the need for the ac­knowl­edge­ment of in­dige­nous peo­ple and a need for hav­ing peo­ple un­der­stand why we need to close the gap,” he said.

Mem­ber for Daw­son Ge­orge Chris­tensen said the event show­cased the work of some tal­ented peo­ple in the lo­cal in­dige­nous com­mu­nity.

“As an elected rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the com­mu­nity, I am mak­ing a spe­cial ef­fort to at­tend com­mu­nity events like this to say to the Abo­rig­i­nal and Is­lander com­mu­nity that you are a re­spected part of our com­mu­nity,” he said.

Proser­pine res­i­dent Marie Cole­man is a fourth gen­er­a­tion de­scen­dant of the Gia tribe of Proser­pine and Gnaro tribe of the Whit­sun­days and proudly wel­comed all in at­ten­dance onto the land of her an­ces­tors.

Year 12 Proser­pine State High stu­dent Tyler Boyd said he was hon­oured to see his grand­mother per­form the tra­di­tional wel­come in recog­ni­tion of NAIDOC week.

“You learn so much more about our tra­di­tional Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture out­side of school and I think it is great to see ev­ery­one com­ing to­gether,” he said.

The large crowd wan­dered through the dis­plays of in­dige­nous art­work by lo­cal res­i­dents Eisha ‘Ke­merr’ Dav­i­son and Sally ‘Pan­naga’ Dav­i­son while en­joy­ing live mu­sic by Jeni Borellini and Jan Waet­ford, a sausage siz­zle and face paint­ing with Vi­vian Mook.

STAND­ING PROUD: Proser­pine Com­mu­nity Cen­tre pres­i­dent Col Men­gel, Se­na­tor of Queens­land Mark Furner, co-or­di­na­tor of Proser­pine Com­mu­nity Cen­ter Cathie Evans, Mem­ber for Daw­son Ge­orge Chris­tensen, Proser­pine State High School stu­dents Tyler Boyd and Manny McAvoy with their grand­mother Marie Cole­man and Whit­sun­day MP Ja­son Costi­gan joined to­gether for the NAIDOC week cel­e­bra­tions yes­ter­day.

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