TAMWORTH’S NAIDOC Week celebrations wrapped up with a huge do in the CBD, but it left some in the community calling for more recognition throughout the year.
Close to 1000 people marched down Peel St before arriving at the biggest party of this week’s events; aq family fun day in Bicentennial Park.
Brad Flanders marched with his grandmother, Pearl Trindall, who turns 90-years-old this year.
Fair enough we can have a big celebration and everyone can be involved, who says we can’t do this a few times a year and celebrate us as people.Brad Flanders
“Being able to walk with her down the street, see her real happy and people come up to her, it brings a real tear to my eye,” he told The Leader.
“That’s why I love my culture.”
While this week has been dedicated to events sharing and celebrating culture, Mr Flanders said it needs to go further.
“One week out of 52 weeks in the year to celebrate Gomeroi culture, it’s not a lot,” he said.
“Fair enough we can have a big celebration and everyone can be involved, who says we can’t do this a few times a year and celebrate us as people.
“Tamworth is big enough, has a big enough population of Aboriginal people, it has a big enough population for us to do something so big, and so significant, that we can hopefully spread it across Australia.
“We have a voice and it’s big.”
Tamworth and Armidale Aboriginal Children’s Service were a major partner in organising this year’s NAIDOC Week events and executive manager Mykol Paulson said it was great to see such a huge turnout for Friday’s family fun day in the park.
“For us, it’s an opportunity to unite our kids and give them an opportunity to engage with their community and find out a little bit more about their culture and build those connections,” Mr Paulson said.
“Sometimes you get placements off-country and placements out of their own kinship setups, so it’s really nice for us working with the kids in out of home care to join with community and extended family members on a day like this.”
Marc Sutherland said the march down Peel St was a very significant part of the week.
“It’s connected to the legacy which has been left by a lot of our older people, fighting for our rights in equality and making sure our voices are heard, making sure we have a platform in town to share our opinions,” he said.
“But also to be acknowledged and recognised that we are still here and that we have rights in this country.
2017 Tamworth NAIDOC Award Winners
Neville Sampson - Elder of the Year – Neville has been recognised for his commitment and contribution to benefit Indigenous people over his lifetime. ‘Uncle Nev’ is an Inspirational leader and a role model not only for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People but for all people.
Len Waters - Aboriginal Business Person of the year- Len has been recognised for his individual business development and business growth.
Kiara Dixon - Aboriginal Sportsperson – Kiara is a multi-sport athlete who competes at a higher level compared to her age. Kiara has also been recognised for achievements at School, attending functions and fundraising events.
Braie Devine - Trainee of the Year – Braie has been recognised for her work ethic and continual growth while undertaking her traineeship.
Brian Sampson – Aboriginal Artist of the Year - Brian passed away earlier this year and his son Aaron Sampson accepted this award on his behalf. Brian has been recognised for his work on the transfer of language and his involvement in developing artistic delivery methods.
Zeta Knight - Champion/Warrior Award - Zeta has been recognised for her work as an individual in promoting, strengthening and continually driving to make changes for Aboriginal people. Zeta is an inspirational role model to all people and has demonstrated Commitment to her people over many years.
Hollie Taggart - Aboriginal Student of the Year – Hollie has been recognised for her outstanding commitment to education.
Georgia Taggart - Aboriginal Achievement of the Year – Georgia has been recognised for her achievements throughout the year and her commitment to her own personal growth.
Tamworth Regional Council’s Cultural Development Officer, Andrea Bruno said: “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people contribute to the Tamworth and wider community through a number of different ways including music, art, culture, community, education, environment, sport, employment, and politics.
“The committee believes through highlighting and recognising local achievers, we can celebrate the talents and strengths of our community and promote the positive things Aboriginal people contribute to our community and beyond.”