NAIDOC Week acknowledges contributions of Elders
Published: 07 Jul 2023 8:47am
From a march down Wagga Wagga’s main street to a family fun day at the Riverside precinct, events have been taking place across the Wagga Wagga local government area to celebrate NAIDOC Week 2023.
Held annually during the first week of July, NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for all Australians to learn about First Nations cultures and histories, and to take part in the celebrations.
This year’s theme is ‘For Our Elders’, encouraging everyone to reflect on the contributions First Nations Elders have made, and continue to make to their communities across Australia.
The week commenced with a march down Baylis Street on Monday followed by a flag raising ceremony in front of the Civic Centre which was attended by more than 200 people.
The Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and Australian flags were raised by representatives of the community, including Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga Councillor Dallas Tout, Wiradjuri/Wiradyuri community leaders Aunty Isabel Reid, Aunty Pamela Honeysett, and Patty Sagigi, as well as young First Nations people representing the future of the community.
“It was great to be involved in the march and flag raising to celebrate the commencement of NAIDOC week,” Mayor Tout said.
“It has also been wonderful to see the strong turnout from the Wiradjuri/Wiradyuri and First Nations communities along with the broader community at these events and at the other activities held in the city over the week.
“It reflects the respect and appreciation they have for the contribution over many years of the Elders in our Wiradjuri/Wiradyuri and First Nations community.”
With the theme ‘For Our Elders’ in mind, the Mawang Gaway NAIDOC Committee, supported by Council, has worked to make events across the city accessible for Wiradjuri/Wiradyuri and First Nations Elders.
This included having a bus available to transport those unable to walk in the march down Baylis street on Monday and holding events in community centres where they are easily accessed by elder community members in suburban locations.
All members of the community have been encouraged to attend NAIDOC Week celebrations, and the damp weather didn’t deter the community from taking part in the Family Fun Day at Riverside on Friday.
People of all backgrounds came together to enjoy the entertainment from local band The Mighty Yak, listen to yarns in the Yarning Circle, and families participated in the activities for children.
Wiradjuri/Wiradyuri Elder Aunty Mary Atkinson reflected on the week’s events: “It’s been great to see the pride in the community, the building up on strengths from Elders, wanting to be there to support each other and respectfully walking together.
“All the events have been happening in the community hubs in the suburbs, so everyone has been able to go to an event that is close to where they live.”
“The Elders have been able to sit back and relax, take it all in and be treated like the royalty that they are.”