Indigenous youth celebrate NAIDOC
STUDENTS at Kyogle High School are celebrating NAIDOC Week as towns and regions across the Far North Coast embrace the festivities.
Events kicked off on Monday with a ‘welcome to country' flag-raising ceremony followed by a big morning tea session.
Yesterday, Aboriginal students prepared an enormous barbecue lunch for their fellow students, followed by a visit from Gold Coast Titans players Shannon Walker and Esi Tonga.
The day finished with an exciting football match where parents and teachers took on the students.
Twelve-year-old Wyatt Meskill was the mastermind behind the Titans visit to Kyogle High School. Wyatt and his friend, Jake Hogan, wrote to the Titans players at the beginning of the semester. They also collected names from fellow students and put together a petition.
Shannon Walker, a former Kyogle High School student, said the letter was the main reason the players visited the school.
Mr Walker said NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) Week was a great opportunity to encourage Aboriginal kids to stay in school and to have goals in life.
“It's just a great way to reflect on the history of the Indigenous people both past and present,” Mr Walker said.
The students eagerly awaited the arrival of their football idols who were held up by a training match on the Gold Coast.
“It's going to be awesome. It will be awesome for the younger kids getting to meet the footy players,” Thomas Murray-Gordon, a Kyogle High School student, said.
Janet Andrews and Sonya Soulsby co-coordinated the events with Jodi Davies playing an important role as the school's Aboriginal Education Officer.
“For our NAIDOC Week we're focusing on working as a community and working together,” Ms Andrews said.
“A lot of the Aboriginal children were missing class or truanting and now they're coming to school much more.”
Festivities surrounding NAIDOC Week celebrations will also take place across the region.
Ballina will be hosting a NAIDOC Week awards youth event at the Ballina amphitheatre on Tuesday, July 6, followed by a family sports day.
Events will kick off in Lismore this week with a welcome to country, a barbecue, entertainment, rides and stalls at Heritage Park.
On Sunday the Lismore Regional Gallery will be exhibiting Aboriginal artwork and extending their hours from 10am to 4pm to coincide with the conservatorium's Cushion Concert.
On Saturday, July 10, Byron Shire will be holding Indigenous Fresh Chords at the Brunswick Soundshell.
Coraki will be holding a flag-raising ceremony on Monday, July 5, followed by a march and a community barbecue from 10am at the Richmond Valley Council chambers.
A NAIDOC Week awards night will also be held at the Casino RSM on Thursday, July 8.
The Northern Rivers Social Development Council website has further information on NAIDOC week activities taking place around the Far North Coast (www.nrsdc.org.au).