Australians have paid tribute to the often-unsung heroes of indigenous communities around the country this week.
NAIDOC week’s 2018 theme, ‘because of her, we can’, celebrates the contribution of aboriginal women.
People came together in Griffith on Monday to hear from members of the indigenous community.
Guest speaker Aunty Judy Johnson took part in the flag-raising ceremony. She says she wanted her speech to pay tribute to the women who helped shape her.
“It’s acknowledging the women in our community, that’s what it’s about. We celebrate the men and their achievements, but the women have always been there,” she said.
She also touched on the need to see women as more than buzzwords or labels.
“We like to be acknowledged as a whole person, not just a mother, not just a sister,” she said.
“We’ve got so many other qualities we can contribute.”
Griffith mayor John Dal Broi said he wanted to see a better understanding and appreciation of indigenous culture integrated into the community.
“What we need to do is to understand the culture and traditions of the aboriginal people, their languages and their whole history. NAIDOC week can help us do that,” he said.
He found this year’s theme to be particularly powerful.
“To me, because of her we can is simple, but has such a powerful meaning when you talk about women. I expanded it through many cultures. Without women, we don’t exist,” he said.
“We heard about some of the hardships women went through many years ago. It acknowledges mums, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and their contribution to our community.”
NAIDOC Week – or National Aboriginal and Islander Day of Celebrations Week – has been held annually since the 1970s, growing in popularity in recent years.
The organisers say this year aims to honour the “invaluable contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have made – and continue to make – to our communities, our families, our rich history and our nation”.
NAIDOC week runs from July 8 through to Sunday, July 15.