Connie Pearson, Rebecca White, Gayle Yowyeh, Walter Saunders and Yvonne Doyle of Central Qld Indigenous Development (CQID) at NAIDOC Week's Kup Murri
Connie Pearson, Rebecca White, Gayle Yowyeh, Walter Saunders and Yvonne Doyle of Central Qld Indigenous Development (CQID) at NAIDOC Week's Kup Murri Jann Houley

What does NAIDOC Week mean to me?

TIMENA MARA

My sister, my Aunty and I organise the Rurabau Baku group which celebrates Torres Strait Islanders' tradition of dance.

Timena Mara, Alice Toby and Teleai Mara at NAIDOC Week's Kup Murri
Timena Mara, Alice Toby and Teleai Mara at NAIDOC Week's Kup Murri Jann Houley

NAIDOC Week is important because it recognises indigenous people's attachment to their land and celebrates their cultural traditions.

Dance is one of the most important aspects of Torres Strait Islander life because it expresses the way we lived and went hunting for food.

Sometimes it expresses the way we fought to protect our families.

Food is the another way we share our love towards one another.

Coming together to prepare and cook lots and lots of food, and sitting at one table, that's the way we maintain relationships and friendships.

We build each other up by getting to know each other.

PIA ALBURY

My mother's family is from Carnarvon Gorge and my father's family are Wakka Wakka people from Cherbourg.

Leon McIvor, Pia Albury with twins Julleen and Nylithiah Albury-Hill at NAIIDOC Week's Kup Murri
Leon McIvor, Pia Albury with twins Julleen and Nylithiah Albury-Hill at NAIIDOC Week's Kup Murri Jann Houley

NAIDOC Week means gathering together to walk as one.

My family's motto is 'Stay Strong' because that's what it takes to make things easier for the next generation.

It's not easy for my generation, what with went before in the past.

Some of the fights we've got are black deaths in custody and everyday struggles for recognition of our culture and heritage.

We've only settled our flag business recently, and then there's knowledge about dance and language to be passed on.

My five-year old twins go to Prep now so I'm a busy Mum.

GAYLE YOWYEH

My Mum was Darumbal and my Dad was Byeellee from Gladstone area.

I started off as a youth worker and now I work in child protection with the indigenous development people (who planned the NAIDOC Week celebrations).

It's really important for our people to be self-determining, especially for families with children currently in care.

Everything's fallen into place with our celebrations; we've heaps of pork and beef, hotpots, and chicken curry to share at today's Kup Murri.

I'm really happy everybody could come along, and we appreciate the help of non-indigenous organisations in hosting this week's events.

I think we need a full-on treaty, not just a referendum, so we can have the independence to get or children where they need to go in life.

MICHELE BAILEY

This is our first time at NAIDOC Week.

Briana and Piper Bailey, Saphire Ryan, Michele and Mali Bailey at NAIDOC Week's Kup Murri
Briana and Piper Bailey, Saphire Ryan, Michele and Mali Bailey at NAIDOC Week's Kup Murri Jann Houley

We came to learn more because we are respite carers for little Saphire, and we want to respect her people.

There wasn't enough information about indigenous culture when I went through school here in Rockhampton.

My kids did home school for a while so we made sure they tried to learn about other cultures.

Now Piper's at Lighthouse School, she did a whole assessment piece last term about the stolen children generation.

I hope my daughters' generation will be the change when it comes to racism.

NAIDOC Week is a great opportunity for people to listen to others and learn how much we have in common.



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