NAIDOC celebrations have kicked off with the Wanaruah Local Aboriginal Land Council (WLALC) hosting its annual ceremony in Muswellbrook on Friday.
Community groups from throughout the shire attended the event, which saw several Aboriginal elders such as Aunty Jean Hands deliver speeches on the importance of recognising indigenous history, culture and achievements.
She stated the organisation, which looks after local land and is involved in various programs around the region, conducts the first official ceremony in town every year and welcomes people from all walks of life to attend.
"We open it up to the community as well as service providers," she said.
"Everyone is welcome on this day."
It was a wonderful turnout this year and the WLALC chairperson had this to say when asked whether she was pleased with the crowd it's attracting.
"It's awesome, it's great to see so many children and I'm very happy with it," Aunty Jean said.
One high profile guest was NSW Upper Hunter MP and parliamentary secretary for Agriculture and Resources Michael Johnson, who said that while the ceremony was small in scale, it was hugely important in terms of its symbolism.
John Farrell and Tanya Hines cut the celebratory cake, which was decorated as the Aboriginal flag, and the attendees all engaged in the complimentary morning tea which helped display the togetherness and mutual respect between all parties involved.
Students from Aberdeen Public School were a key part of the event and will be all the better for the educational experience.
NAIDOC Week officially runs from July 7 to 14.
People from all around the district are encouraged to participate in ceremonies and pass on the importance of the occasion to the younger generation.
The Wanaruah NAIDOC committee will also host another event at Simpson Park on Monday, July 8.
From 10am until 3pm, residents can enjoy lunch, music, demonstrations, activities and information stalls.
It all follows the announcement of the 2019 NAIDOC Art Competition award winners and raising of the Aboriginal flag.
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