BECAUSE of her, we can.
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The theme for NAIDOC week 2018 was a strong message of courage, strength and empowerment.
Port Stephens celebrated this special week with a jam-packed week full of culture, family and fun.
The week began with a moving march, flag raising and smoking ceremony in Raymond Terrace, in the forecourt of Port Stephens Council.
Uncle John Ridgeway performed for the crowd again this year, a special tradition that many look forward to.
another special event took place at the opening, with a ‘Road to Tomorrow’ agreement being signed The Road to Tomorrow Agreement, or Yabang-Gu-Butunga Agreement in the Worimi language of Gatung, is a first for the region, and sets out the shared objectives and projects that have been identified as priorities for Port Stephens.
The Agreement was signed by Council’s Mayor Ryan Palmer and General Manager Wayne Wallis, Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council’s CEO Andrew Smith and Chair Leigh Ridgeway, and Karuah Local Aboriginal Land Council’s CEO Len Roberts and Chair Fiona Manton.
Many moved from the Raymond Terrace ceremony to the Awabakal fun day in Newcastle on the foreshore, where there were stalls, rides and music performers galore, including popular group ‘Justice Crew’.
Wednesday morning saw another important march and ceremony at Nelson Bay.
Uncle John Ridgeway performed for the crowd, and children enjoyed rides and activities while parents and community members relaxed with a coffee on large outdoor mats in the shade.
The NAIDOC touch championships took place in Medowie on thursday, with the RAAF team taking out both trophies.
Friday saw the culmination of a wonderful week of culture, with the Worimi family fun day at King Park Raymond Terrace.
The overwhelming success of the event and support in such great numbers saw the event moved for the first time this year from the Murrook Culture in Williamtown.
Community enjoyed rides, food, live music and activities for the children, as well as a large number of local service providers with information and giveaways.
Proud Wiradjuri woman Michelle Bovill told News Of The Area, “NAIDOC week is a time to celebrate our culture and community.”
“This year with the theme ‘Because of her we can’, we have gone beyond our normal celebrations and reflected on our elders past and present, without who we wouldn’t be here, reflecting back to our traditional roots that honoured women and their integral role in our survival.”
“I have reflected; Because of her I am, because of her I can, because of her I will,” she said.
By Rachael VAUGHAN