To acknowledge and celebrate NAIDOC Week, Aboriginal Elders, local Aboriginal Land Council representatives and community members joined Bellingen Shire Mayor and Council staff in Maam Gaduying Park on Thursday 12 July 2018.
The 2018 Theme, ‘Because of her, we can!’ celebrates the essential role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played - and continue to play - as active and significant role models at the community, local, state and national levels.
Musical group ‘Gunganbuwala’, meaning ‘Let’s be Friends’, entertained the crowd throughout the morning. This recently formed group are Gumbaynggirr language students under teacher Michael Jarrett and will also perform at this year’s Bellingen Music Festival.
With encouragement from his father Michael, Malachai Jarrett did the Welcome to Country before Bellingen Shire Mayor, Cr Dominic King talked about the connection Indigenous people have to the land and what we can all learn from their generational knowledge. He emphasised the importance of celebrating the Indigenous culture not just during NAIDOC Week but at all times.
Michael Jarrett told his story of the strong women in his life before engaging the crowd with some language and song. Dorrigo Aboriginal Elder, Robin Heath spoke of the prominent women advocating in a public capacity for the betterment of the Indigenous community before raising the flag with Mayor King. The celebration concluded with a morning tea and children’s craft in the Bellingen Library.
A display of Indigenous resources was available at each library including children’s and adult story books, books by aboriginal authors, as well as cultural and history books. Additionally, Indigenous themed school holiday activities for children including dreamtime animals made from yarn, indigenous themed painting of hand and feet boards were held at the Urunga, Dorrigo and Bellingen Libraries during the week.