Com­mu­nity cel­e­brates NAIDOC week

Whitsunday Times - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

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.

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