School students from across the Plateau celebrated NAIDOC Week in Dorrigo on Friday with a wide range of ceremonies, cultural activities, workshops and … food.
NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and has been observed annually since 1972.
The student turnout from Hernani, Dundurrabin, Mount St John’s and Dorrigo Primary Schools and Dorrigo High was one of the largest in recent years.
Activities included traditional art, damper cooking and bush tucker, Aboriginal dance and music, storytelling, language awareness and traditional crafts.
Two well known Elders, Auntie Bea Ballangarry and Uncle Mark Flanders, were keynote speakers.
Staff from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service led a number of workshops, teaching sessions and outdoor activities.
All students assembled in clan groups representing regional Indigenous peoples.
The day began with a traditional Smoking Ceremony and flag raising.
Dorrigo Public School staff and students hosted the day with help from principals and staff of the five schools, parents, volunteers, NPWS representations and local indigenous leaders.
Relieving Principal Leah Keough described the day as a major success with students being exposed to a wide range of learning about traditional Indigenous life and culture.
“It was quite obvious all students enjoyed the day hugely and responded with enthusiasm,” she said.
Aunty Bea led Welcome to Country and spoke to students and staff on the theme of the week: Because of Her, We Can!
Uncle Mark played didgeridoo during the general welcome and Smoking Ceremony, explained in detail the meaning and significance of the Aboriginal flag and spoke to students on the theme of Journey.