NAIDOC Week 2018: Mandurah's heartfelt week of cultural celebration

NAIDOC Week kicked off on Monday, with this year’s theme pulling at the heartstrings of many in community. 

The annual festivities are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

It is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life.

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“The theme of NAIDOC is ‘Because of her, we can’ and I think that touched the heartstrings of a lot of people, a lot of families,” Mandurah’s event MC Trevor Stack said. 

“It's about our mothers, our grandmothers, our sisters, our cousins.  

“When you're raised in an Aboriginal environment, you're raised by a community. 

“I think the theme is quite fitting when you look around at the people standing around you, not only Aboriginal ladies, but non-Indigenous as well, the same thing is happening where grandmothers, sisters are taking over and caring for family.”

In Mandurah, the week began with a march along the eastern foreshore, a flag raising ceremony in Mandjar Square, a talk from keynote speaker Pat Dudgeon and the presentation of the Bindjareb Art Award to local artist Karrie-Anne Kearing Salmon. 

City of Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams said NAIDOC Week was a chance to embrace the community’s differences. 

“On a day like today, when we come together to celebrate Mandurah and reconciliation, I want to talk to you about what we are,” he said. 

“What we are is a community, a place where people from all walks of life and all different backgrounds feel welcomed and cared for. 

“What we are is a place which celebrates our differences; that recognises that while we may look around and see the differences which could divide us, it's the things which we share in common, that strengthen us.

“It's easy to allow our differences to come between us but the strength of our future will be judged on our ability to celebrate what's different about us and come together. That's exactly what we are doing today.” 

Celebrations continue with Saturday’s NAIDOC ball.