Meander Valley’s leaders of the future were the centre of attention at Deloraine’s 2018 NAIDOC Week celebrations on Wednesday.
Staying true to this year’s theme – ‘Because of her, we can’ – the Colony 47-organised event saw a group of young girls perform a traditional dance and assist Aunty Dawn Blazley in raising the Aboriginal flag.
Cornerstone Youth Services community worker, and event co-organiser, Melissa Carter said every woman had a “deep spiritual significance” in Aboriginal culture.
“When I look at this, seeing these young girls here, I think of the 2000 grandmothers that have come before them,” she said.
“We’ve had 2000 generations of Aboriginal culture in this state and our living culture is demonstrated here today.
“[Today] is a testament to our forebears and their strength.”
More than 100 people, including many children, attended the event on the banks of the Meander River, which included the lighting of a ceremonial fire.
The ceremony took place along Colony 47’s Bush Tucker Trail, which celebrates Indigenous culture and heritage.
If you can start teaching Aboriginal culture you get rid of a lot of the unfavourable stigma that might be there from existing generations.Colony 47 community pathway planner Martin Hay
Colony 47 community pathway planner Martin Hay emphasised the importance of teaching Aboriginal culture to children at a young age.
“If you can start teaching Aboriginal culture you get rid of a lot of the unfavourable stigma that might be there from existing generations,” he said.
“[NAIDOC Week] has grown every year and there’s been a buy-in from the local people.
“It’s another step towards reconciliation and appreciating the Aboriginal culture.”
Mr Hay said recognition of the Aboriginal community’s female population was long overdue.
“Because of the loss of identity for Aboriginal men, they’ve been holding together families for centuries,” he said.
Meander Valley mayor Craig Perkins spoke at the event, labelling the Bush Tucker Trail as one of the great municipality’s great successes during his eight-year incumbency.
“Events are good, and this event is really good, because they’re great reminders [of Aboriginal culture] and NAIDOC Week is a great reminder,” he said.
“But every day of the year the Bush Tucker Trail reminds us of our Aboriginal culture in our community.”