Cr Sarah Ndiaye, Mullumbimby
Congratulations to all involved in hosting NAIDOC Week celebrations. This was a special year with the recognition of Arakwal Native Title over much of the Byron Shire.
The local mob work hard putting on these incredible, colourful, cultural events full of heart; it would be great to see more people attend, locals and visitors alike.
I’m grateful to our local elders who’ve kept the songs, dances, and stories alive while caring for country, despite the genocide and discrimination endured.
Seeing the young ones getting stronger and more confident each year is heart warming.
Just this week minister Ken Wyatt used Arakwal people and Byron Council as an example of working together toward self-determination with empathy.
Growing up I saw many cross the Harbour Bridge in solidarity, create the Sea of Hands, saw Midnight Oil play in Eveleigh St and listened to Keating’s speech in Redfern Park. There was so much hope but successes have been ad hoc across the country.
In 1992 Keating said, ‘We cannot imagine that the descendants of people whose genius and resilience maintained a culture here through fifty thousand years or more, through cataclysmic changes to the climate and environment, and who then survived two centuries of dispossession and abuse, will be denied their place in the modern Australian nation.’
He was confident we would succeed that decade, but it seems over 25 years later we still have a long way to go. Our local Arakwal are helping to lead the way.