Time for NAIDOC Week 2016 in Proserpine
THE Whitsundays Young Person of the Year Keisha McEwan gave a rousing speech during a flag raising ceremony to kick off the 2016 NAIDOC Week on Monday.
In her speech Ms McEwan challenged the recent judgement of indigenous people she'd experienced first-hand while visiting the Sunshine Coast.
Ms McEwan said she heard someone say, "I just don't get indigenous people. They get everything handed to them, while we have to work for everything".
In Ms McEwan's retort she said "I am an active community member and much respected in our community. (I am) studying social work (and) helping people in need".
Ms McEwan told this story to the crowd gathered at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre on Monday to illustrate the point that there are indigenous people doing good all over Australia.
"Sometimes we get people who want to put us down, but we are stronger than that - as individuals and as a culture," she said.
"(But) as well as positive action by indigenous people there are negative ones too."
Ms McEwan's solution was to "raise them up to become strong men and women by being a positive role model".
"We all have to start somewhere but the point is to just start," she said.
"We need to share our knowledge with everyone, we need to stand up for our people and our culture, together."
NAIDOC Week is a celebration of indigenous culture and achievement.
NAIDOC celebrations in the Whitsundays will include a games day at Spalla Park on Wednesday, starting at 11am, where crocodile kebabs and kangaroo sausages will be served.
There will also be a game of footy played between the Proserpine Police and a young indigenous football team. Next Monday there will a combined NAIDOC Week celebration at the Proserpine State School.
"NAIDOC Week is important to break down barriers and to continue to close the gap," Ms McEwan said.