The Port Macquarie came together to kick off NAIDOC Week 2019 with cultural dancing and a flag raising ceremony on Town Green.
Despite a gloomy sky not even Mother Nature dared to halt the kicking off of a week long Aboriginal cultural celebration on July 8.
Samantha Wright is chair of the Bearlay interagency group which seeks to foster collaboration between services helping the Aboriginal community.
"To me NAIDOC is all about celebrating our culture and our history and showcasing the talents and skills of the Aboriginal community," Ms Wright said.
"For us NAIDOC is a chance to come together elders, parents, families and children for a week of remembering the past and celebrating how far we have come.
"NAIDOC celebrations are a place free from stigma and a chance for us to tell the stories of our ancestors."
This year's theme is Voice, Treaty, Truth - Let's work together for a shared future and highlights the desire of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a seat at the bargaining table in discussions of Constitutional reform and treaties; and for a truthful depiction of colonisation to underpin the narrative of Australian history.
Ms Wright said all members of the community are invited to join in the celebrations.
"At the opening today we had elders as well as young children present and that is so vital for us," she said.
"One day our young kids will be our elders and they are our future leaders so it is so important they are part of our community from the beginning."
She said Bearlay interagency group were about empowering members in the Aboriginal community to have a voice.
"Bearlay meets bi-monthly to share knowledge, events, ideas and to problem solve so that our community has the best opportunities."
Port Macquarie-Hastings mayor Peta Pinson said NAIDOC was a wonderful celebration for the whole community to support.
"Today marks the start of a wonderful week of celebrations sharing and showcasing the resilience and vibrancy of our local Aboriginal culture," Cr Pinson said.
"NAIDOC is about taking the time to recognise our past and where we've come from, and to understand the history of our nation's first people.
"Let's work together for a shared future and it is a time for all Australians to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
"Over the years council has been working in collaboration with our Aboriginal community to ensure positive relationships are built, mutual respect is developed and we are building a future, sharing our place, connecting our stories and most importantly walking together as one."
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