NAROOMA’S Aboriginal community on Saturday had a dual celebration of the survival of its culture.
It was the sixth anniversary of the national apology to the stolen generation made by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and also the 30th anniversary of the Wagonga Local Aboriginal Lands Council.
And there is a lot to celebrate, including a dynamic and enthusiastic new dance group being led by women called the Djaadjawan Dancers, whose dancers young and old performed on Saturday.
Also recognised on the day were a group of newly trained indigenous site officers, who can now help identify and preserve traditional landmarks and locations.
The day of celebration was moved from NATA Oval into the Narooma Sports and Leisure Centre due to the weather but nobody was complaining about the much-needed rain.
Elders Uncle Vincent Wenberg and Cecil J Leon opened proceedings with heartfelt stories of their own family experiences.
Fellow elder and Gulaga Board of Management chairwoman Iris White spoke specifically of the stolen generation and ongoing challenges facing young people.
“The national apology was really meaningful to us and I don’t know of one of Aboriginal family that has not been affected by children being taken,” White said.
“While it is really important to remember the pain of the past, it is also really important to realise that Aboriginal kids are being removed families even today at greater rates.
“It’s time to take care of our kids and our neighbours kids to look after our future.”
After receiving its own certificate of recognition, the Djaadjawan Dancers then handed out its own certificate of thanks.
The dancers recognised the Bambarrang Men’s Group for helping to make their instrument and adornments, as well as other supporters including local parks and campgrounds where they had appeared over the summer.
Also present on Saturday was the newly appointed manager of the Far South Coast PCYC Kevin Bird, who invited all the families and young people to get involved in the police and citizen’s youth club.
He has just spent time living and working with the Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory coast and so was looking forward to engaging with the local Aboriginal community.
The PCYC is just about to start offering activities for young people from Eden to Batemans Bay with the Narooma Sports and Leisure Centre to be a central location for the club.
Supporters of the celebration day included the Healing Foundation, Club Narooma and the Katungul Aboriginal Medical Service.