Community celebrates NAIDOC week
MORE than 100 Whitsunday residents from a variety of cultures converged on the Proserpine Entertainment Centre last Thursday to celebrate this year’s National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week.
The official proceedings kicked off with the raising of the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Island and Australian national flags by Whitsunday mayor Jennifer Whitney. Cr Whitney said Council was proud to support the NAIDOC Week celebrations and the rich, unique and vibrant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures within the local community.
“Preserving the culture and heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultures is important to everyone as both are an integral part of our national identity,” she said. The event continued throughout the morning and included food, face painting, stalls and an art competition.
Proserpine Indigenous Reference Group (PIRG) president Maree Tobin said the event and particularly the raising of the flags, was a symbol of “unity between all of us”.
“And [the event] was all about bringing fami- lies together in a healthy environment,” she said.
Event organiser Cathy Clegg paid tribute to all those involved in making the morning a success, including representatives from Girudala, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Council and local musicians Jan Waetford and Jeni Borellini, who serenaded the crowds.
NAIDOC Week 2013 focuses on the 50th anniversary of the presenta- tion of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions to the Federal Parliament.
These petitions protested the Commonwealth’s granting of mining rights on land excised from the Arnhem Land reserve and sought recognition by the Australian Parliament of the Yolngu peoples’ traditional rights and ownership of their lands. The petitions were the first traditional documents recognised by the Commonwealth Parliament and they helped to shape the nation’s acknowledgment of Aboriginal people and their land rights.
WINNING ART: Isaiah Daniel, Zenita and Jacob Gabey and Jerrol Miller (on behalf of his sister Nahkeeta Miller), with the winning artworks from last Thursday's NAIDOC week celebrations at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre.
CULTURAL CELEBRATION: PIRG members Nataliya and Cherlika Gordon, Brian Youse, Sue West, Percy McAvoy, Elizabeth Harding and Del-Rae Youse (back) and Kalila Parter and Cathy Clegg (front) at last Thursday's NAIDOC celebrations, held at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre. The group are pictured in front of flag poles bearing the Aboriginal, Australian national and Torres Straight Islander flags.