INSPIRATIONAL words from NAIDOC young person of the year award winner Bertha Moore embodied the spirit of NAIDOC week celebrations held on Midland Oval this Tuesday.
The bright Swan View Senior High School student radiated the strength, positivity and pride felt by all attending the annual event, this year celebrating the achievements of Aboriginal women under the theme, Because of her, we can.
“I don’t regard myself as a leader or role model, instead I’m just a Noongar girl who wants to strive for change,” she said.
“We all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity no matter our gender, age and most of all colour.”
She said she endeavoured to close the gap between all cultures by helping change the public’s attitude toward one another.
“Since we all bleed red from a heart we all have, what really makes us different?” she said.
“Let’s start using our hearts to love and respect each other, that is what will help us achieve true change.”
Event emcee and national NAIDOC lifetime achievement award winner Di Ryder said the Midland event had grown significantly since its beginning in 2013.
“It’s about us, not just the Aboriginal community but the whole community coming together,” she said.
“And to see Aboriginal people in a different way that people perceive Aboriginal people.”
One of eleven children, Ms Ryder paid homage to her mother, who made the most out of what she had and paved the path for her children’s future.
“My inspiration has been my mum who passed away in 2006,” she said.
“I didn’t truly get her sacrifice until I had my own child.
“Because of her, we can, is a wonderful theme because it acknowledges the contributions made by our women.”
From events like NAIDOC week she wanted to see more reconciliation and understanding of Aboriginal culture as well as opportunities for young Aboriginals in the workforce and wider community.
This year’s elder of the year award was presented to Graham Cox and runner up Dorothy Bagshaw, the Because of her, we can award to Daniella Borg and Rickesha Burdett, community person of the year to Paige Smith, youth of the year winner Melissa McGuire and service provider of the year, Koya Aboriginal Corporation.
The Shire of Mundaring celebrations started on Monday with a free community event featuring bush tucker tasting, a cultural walk, community art project and Welcome to Country by senior Whadjuk Yok Cindy Nelson.
The City of Kalamunda held an open group exhibition at Zig Zag Gallery in the first week of July to celebrate the occasion.
By Claire Ottaviano