Celebration for NAIDOC week

THE official opening of NAIDOC Week celebrations in the Whitsundays were held at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre on Tuesday.

NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) week takes place annually between July 4 and 11.

The week celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and provides an opportunity to celebrate indigenous culture and acknowledge the contributions of indigenous Australians in different fields.

About 70 people, indigenous and non-indigenous, flocked to the Proserpine Entertainment Centre for the opening event.

Proserpine resident Shane Maza's family originate from Thursday Island.

He and others were showing art work at Tuesday's event and doing art demonstrations for the crowd to enjoy.

Some kids also tried their hand at playing the didgeereedo.

Mr Maza said the best thing about NAIDOC is that it brings the Australian community together.

“It [NAIDOC] brings everyone together, indigenous and non-indigenous people,” he said.

“We brought in our artwork show what Indigenous art is all about.”

The celebrations also included Gundoo Dreamtime Dancers from Mackay, a performance by young girls of Proserpine, traditional Indigenous face painting and the flag raising ceremony.

Members of the local indigenous community Bryan Youse and John Brady raised the Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal flag, respectively, while Member for Whitsunday Jan Jarratt raised the Australian flag.

The event was hosted by Proserpine Indigenous Reference Group - led by Toni Phillips, with the support of Proserpine Youth Space and Whitsunday Regional Council.

Youth Services Officer for the Whitsunday Regional Council Amanda Jensen said she hoped that the celebrations held at the Proserpine Entertainment centre will continue and become and annual event.

NAIDOC week celebrations will continue throughout next week at Whitsundays schools. Indigenous students from the Proserpine State High School will compete against Bowen State High School at the Whitsunday PCYC next Thursday as part of Indigenous Sports Day. Proserpine Youth Space is holding an arts and craft day today from10am-3pm. NAIDOC originated in the 1950s when Aboriginal groups sought to change negative views and celebrate the richness of Indigenous culture and heritage.

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