Celebrate… and remember

ON MONDAY, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were raised at Lismore City Hall signifying the start of NAIDOC week. It was the first time the flag-raising ceremony had been conducted under the auspices of the mayor.

Despite the NAIDOC Week family fun day being postponed due to rain (for the third year running) the sun came out to shine for this event.

The theme for this year's celebration is "Spirit of the Tent Embassy: 40 years on" - marking four decades since Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people erected the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra.

"It is a significant day," Mayor Jenny Dowell told The Echo.

"Today we concentrate on the positive that has been achieved … but we must remain aware of how far we have to go."

In her speech to the crowd gathered for the flag-raising, the Mayor drew attention to the wide difference in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-indigenous people.

She also acknowledged how the Bundjalung people have looked after the land for tens of thousands of years. But then came a warning: "We are on the brink of doing so much damage to this land," she said.

Aunty Thelma also spoke at the event saying that NAIDOC was not just a celebration of the present and the future, but also a time to remember the past.

"Forty years ago there was a big shift in Australia. Indigenous people started to speak up for themselves," she said.

The NAIDOC Week family fun day has been postponed until August 9.

Meanwhile, today (Thursday, July 5) the Deadly Dancers will perform at the City Centre Produce Markets from 5pm and a Blue Light Disco will be held at the Lismore PCYC from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.

This Friday, July 6, Lismore City Council's final event to celebrate NAIDOC Week is a Community Sport and Fun Day at Kadina Park from 10am to 2pm.

For more information phone Council's Lee-Ann Emzin on 1300 87 83 87.

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