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NAIDOC Week 'a time to reflect'

Tuesday, 8th July, 2008

NAIDOC Week 'a time to reflect' NAIDOC Week 'a time to reflect'

The celebration of NAIDOC Week brings to mind the achievements of Aboriginal people since the 1967 referendum, according to one of the city's young Indigenous leaders.

Nyirey Phil Kickett said the annual NAIDOC Week celebration was a time to reflect on those achievements."We've had professional athletes in sport, people moving up in the government...(and) it's a very important thing for Aboriginal people to be recognised on this week for that."(Nyirey is Phil's Aboriginal name, of the Nyoongar people from south west Western Australia, on his father's side).

The National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week is from July 6-13 and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.Yesterday morning a small gathering braved the chill to witness the raising of the Aboriginal flags at the court house.
Anthony Haywood played the didgeridoo during the flag raising and a minute's silence was observed.

Yesterday's ceremony and other NAIDOC Week activities here have been organised by youngsters in the indigenous community, who are taking part in the Murdi Paaki Aboriginal Young Leaders Program.

Tegan Hinchey and Latesha Adams said the city's young indigenous people decided to take on the job after attending a leaders' workshop in Canberra.

"We were split up into town groups and had to plan an event and we decided on NAIDOC Week," said Tegan.

With support from the Aboriginal Community Working Party, the group has also organised a morning tea for Elders at the fire station today and a Family Fun Day in Sturt Park on Thursday.

"The Family Fun Day is open to everyone and will be from 10am to 4pm...we want everyone to come," said Latesha.

The fire station morning tea starting 10am would allow firefighters to improve their cultural awareness by meeting with local elders, said Station Officer Daron Lesslie."It's about fire prevention in the indigenous community as well, and cultural awareness for us about smoking ceremonies in houses so that we understand why they do it."

Tegan and Latesha said they hope the events help everyone gain a greater awareness of NAIDOC Week and what it means to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Mr Kickett said observing NAIDOC Week was important for Aboriginal people, following on from the significance of the Federal Government's apology to the Stolen Generations earlier this year.

"Sorry Day was the biggest significant thing and history making for Aboriginal people and it's going to push us further on," he said.

"That's what we wanted to hear. There were a lot of families hurt from that (Stolen Generations) and now it's time to push on."

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