Celebrations for 2021 NAIDOC Week will be in full swing across Port Stephens from 4 to 11 July after COVID-19 kept crowds away in 2020.
The events kick off on Monday 5 July with the annual flag raising ceremony and barbeque breakfast at the Council Administration Building in Raymond Terrace.
Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer says it’s great to be able to celebrate NAIDOC Week with the community again.
“NAIDOC Week is a chance for everyone to come together to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“Last year, we held a virtual ceremony with only a few representatives because of COVID-19 restrictions. While it was important to still mark the occasion, it definitely wasn’t the same.
“This year, I’m really looking forward to welcoming back our community to come together, have some fun and to reflect on what NAIDOC Week means,” he said.
This year’s theme is Heal Country! It calls for greater protections for lands, waters, sacred sites and cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration and destruction.
Mayor Palmer says the theme Heal Country! is particularly important in 2021.
“With the desecration of hugely significant sites at a national level, it’s an important reminder that we need to work together as we plan for the future of Port Stephens to ensure we protect the valuable cultural significance of many sites.
“This is something Port Stephens Council has been working on over many years in conjunction with the local Worimi and Karuah Aboriginal Land Councils, and I’m proud of the strong relationship we have created as a result,” he said.
Another highlight of NAIDOC Week will be the special screening of the documentary Grave Injustice, followed by a Q&A with Gumbangerri sisters Zona Kelly and Diane Ball OA.
The documentary follows the Kelly family on their 5 year struggle to find their infant ‘lost’ brother Michael and their journey to have him exhumed and reburied on country. Tickets are free but booking is essential.
Port Stephens NAIDOC Week 2021 events
Monday 5 July — Raymond Terrace flag raising and breakfast
Join us from 8:30am for the annual flag raising and smoking ceremony to mark the start of NAIDOC Week. This will be followed by a free breakfast for attendees, screening of Aboriginal Dreaming videos and cultural activities. The forecourt will be yarn bombed in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands colours, all knitted by Council employees and community volunteers.
Wednesday 7 July — Nelson Bay Family Fun Day
10am to 2pm at Nelson Bay Foreshore park. Hosted by Worimi Aboriginal Land Council.
Thursday 8 July — Michael’s Lore: Grave Injustice
5:30 to 7:30pm at Raymond Terrace Library, 18a Sturgeon Street. Tickets are free but bookings are essential. Phone 4988 0111 to book.