Flag raising flies Naidoc Week’s colours and messages

Nicole SalmeriSouth Western Times
Aboriginal elder Bill Turner and Meka Bennell had the honour of raising the indigenous flag at yesterday’s Naidoc week flag raising ceremony.
Camera IconAboriginal elder Bill Turner and Meka Bennell had the honour of raising the indigenous flag at yesterday’s Naidoc week flag raising ceremony. Credit: Nicole Salmeri

About 200 people gathered at the Graham Bricknell Memorial Music Shell yesterday for the annual Naidoc Week flag raising ceremony to officially start the week-long celebrations.

The morning proceedings began with a welcome to country before the Nyan Mort dance group performed a traditional indigenous dance.

Bunbury Aboriginal artist Troy Bennell said Naidoc Week highlighted the importance of all coming together as one.

“It is very important, flags are important, it’s a symbol,” Mr Bennell said.

“But it’s good because we put all the flags up, Australian, Aboriginal, Torres Srait — that’s the whole idea about bringing people together.”

Mr Bennell said tomorrow’s Duncan Bennell Memorial football game would be played in good spirits.

“Tomorrow is a big day, we have our under 25s versus our over 35s at Hands Oval and I’m umpiring and I’m going to be the first umpire to kick a goal in AFL history,” Mr Bennell said.

“But we bring the whole community together and there’s a whole bunch of events across the week — look at the turnout today already, it’s great.”

Yaka Dandjoo events manager Karen Jetta said Naidoc Week was a national celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and the local events were open to everyone.

“We want to share, learn and grow together and this year’s Naidoc theme is voice, treaty, truth so we want to share our truth and our stories with everyone,” she said.

Harvey Aboriginal Elder Greg Little was named the 2019 Male Elder of the Year at the National Naidoc Awards on Sunday night.

The celebrations will also incorporate events such as Noongar art workshops and the family fun day.

Naidoc Week wraps up onSunday with the Bill Flowers Memorial Darts event.

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