WITH the red, yellow and black of the Aboriginal flag proudly waving above, a small crowd bowed their heads to mark NAIDOC Week in Griffith on Monday.
NAIDOC Week honours the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The theme this year is ‘Serving Country: Centenary and Beyond’ and focuses on the contribution that Indigenous people have made in Australia’s military conflicts.
Fittingly the Griffith ceremony was held near the cenotaph in Memorial Park, with elder Aunty Heather Edwards helping mayor John Dal Broi and Griffith High School leader Callum Meredith raise the flag.
Griffith City Council’s Aboriginal liaison officer Roger Penrith conducted the moving ceremony.
“This year’s NAIDOC Week honours all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have fought in defence of our country,” he said.
“From our warriors in the frontier wars to our warriors who have served with honour and pride in Australia’s military conflicts and engagements across the globe.
“We proudly highlight and recognise the role they have played in shaping our identity and pause to reflect on their sacrifice.
“We celebrate and honour their priceless contribution to our nation.”
Mr Penrith also made mention of the Griffith War Memorial Museum and the great work that has been done including last year’s Aboriginal display.
“That has seen the nominal roll for Aboriginals go from around 15 to 144, which now takes in and includes those places in a radius of 300 kilometres from Griffith,” he said.
“Stories are now slowly starting to surface and be told.”
Councillor Dal Broi acknowledged and paid his respects to past and present Aboriginal people.
“It’s great to be here this morning to acknowledge the sacrifices made by our Indigenous community in terms of war,” he said.
“When you fight side by side colour doesn’t matter when we all bleed the same colour.”
Teenager Callum Meredith read a poignant poem titled Black Anzacs before the flag went up, followed by a minute’s silence.