Young, proud and walking the talk

TAMWORTH’S Ray Walsh House played host to a colourful morning of activities as part of National Reconciliation Week.

SIGNIFICANT: The smoke clears after the smoking ceremony as part of National Reconciliation Week activities at Tamworth’s Ray Walsh House. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 280514GOB03

SIGNIFICANT: The smoke clears after the smoking ceremony as part of National Reconciliation Week activities at Tamworth’s Ray Walsh House. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 280514GOB03

Local schools played a large role in the celebrations, which began with a welcome to country and smoking ceremony by local Aboriginal elder Len Waters.

Tamworth mayor Col Murray gave an address before school students took to the stage.

Pupils from Westdale Public, Hillvue Public, Tamworth High and Oxley schools performed several musical items, while the Westdale Gems gave a more traditional Aboriginal cultural performance.

The program ended with Cr Murray and Mr Waters raising the Aboriginal flag.

National Reconciliation Week is celebrated across Australia each year between May 27 and June 3. 

The week marks two important dates – May 27 is the anniversary of the 1967 referendum when Australians voted to remove clauses in the Australian Constitution that discriminated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, while June 3 marks the 1992 Mabo decision in which the High Court of Australia recognised native title.

“National Reconciliation Week and events like the flag-raising give a focus for all members of the local community to reflect on the importance of reconciliation,” Cr Murray said.

“The theme for 2014, ‘Let’s Walk the Talk’, is about the next step in that process which is to complete our constitution and recognise the first Australians.”

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