NAIDOC focus on treaty

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
The Great Southern Aboriginal Health group would like to invite the community to join them for NAIDOC march at Peace Park on Friday, July 12.
Camera IconThe Great Southern Aboriginal Health group would like to invite the community to join them for NAIDOC march at Peace Park on Friday, July 12. Credit: Pictures: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

For this year’s NAIDOC Week celebrations, the theme Voice. Treaty. Truth. rings true for many in Albany’s indigenous community.

Aboriginal elder Lester Coyne said the journey for his people to be recognised had been long and arduous, but he was proud of what they had achieved so far.

“NAIDOC Week represents the struggle and the fact that our people are survivors,” he said.

“We survived all that journey and we now celebrate what we have achieved and what we have overcome.” Mr Coyne said he would like indigenous voices to be heard loud and clear.

Menang elder Lester Coyne, centre, with the Noongar Boodja filmmakers.
Camera IconMenang elder Lester Coyne, centre, with the Noongar Boodja filmmakers.

He wants the nation to acknowledge the dark past of colonisation and to establish a treaty to return indigenous rights to the people.

“We are one of the only developing countries in the world that doesn’t have a treaty with their Aboriginal inhabitants,” he said.

“It’s crucial that the truth of our history is at the forefront during this NAIDOC Week.

“Whether this country would accept those things, that’s another question.”

For local Noongar artist Caroline Narkle, NAIDOC Week is a time to reflect on the past and look forward to a better future for the younger generations in her family.

Caroline Narkle and granddaughter Kyisha Eades (12) will take part in the Noongar Women’s Art Workshop next Monday.
Camera IconCaroline Narkle and granddaughter Kyisha Eades (12) will take part in the Noongar Women’s Art Workshop next Monday. Credit: Laurie Benson/Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

“NAIDOC Week is an important week for us because it’s the time where we gather together to talk about what happened to our people in the past,” she said.

Ms Narkle said this year’s NAIDOC theme had made her feel hopeful for the future. She said she expected to see some big changes in the near future. “I think it would be a great thing for our treaty to be recognised, because it hasn’t been done yet,” she said.

“We would like things to change for our younger generations.”

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