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NAIDOC week celebrations

NAIDOC week celebrations took place around the Clarence valley last week. Possibly the largest celebration in the Clarence Valley was the NAIDOC family fun day, which took place at the Grafton Showground on Thursday. The event which was organised by the Clarence Valley Goorie Interagency attracted a huge crowd. Over 1600 people, excluding service providers, filed through the gates on the day. This year’s NAIDOC week theme was ‘Our languages Matter’. One of the organisers of this year’s event Janelle Brown described the importance of language and cultural identity. “Before European settlement there were over 500 Aboriginal languages Australia wide,” said Ms Brown. “We have lost a lot of them over the years. “In the early days we weren’t allowed to speak our language. “Fortunately a lot did survive and now we’re trying to learn and revive our languages, with the support of the government. “Our Bundjalung, Gumbaynggir and Yaegl people can now learn their language through courses at both schools and TAFE.” The Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative in Nambucca Heads also support Aboriginal language revitalisation in northern NSW and beyond. Among their many published teaching resources are three dictionaries on our local Aboriginal languages. Ms Brown said that she couldn’t thank the sponsors and service providers enough for the success of this year’s NAIDOC week family fun day. “We are very lucky here in the Clarence Valley with the community support,” Ms Brown said. “This year we had 15 more service providers than last year supporting the day. “NAIDOC is for the whole community, not just the Aboriginals and it provides a great opportunity for reconciliation.”