“Because of her, we can” was the chant as more than 100 people marched down The Levee on Tuesday for NAIDOC Week celebrations.
The Celebration of Existence March started at Maitland Court House and continued down to the Town Hall, where formal proceedings were held.
NAIDOC events are being led by Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council. Mindaribba CEO Tara Dever said this year was about women who have fought to keep Aboriginal culture alive.
“The theme of this year’s NAIDOC Week celebrates the unsung heroes of our communities, not only the women who are fighting today but for those old ones who have passed,” she said.
“It is a week where we recognise the strength, power and determination of these women and influence they were able to have on the future generations.”
Ms Dever said the theme was also important because it recognised the matriarchal society of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Every part of our culture is based around mother earth as the giver and sustainer of all life,” she said.
“Women have provided knowledge and strength to their children and have made the big decisions around when those children were ready to move into the next phases of their lives.
“Not only were our women the keepers of our traditional life but the driving force behind our political activities.”
Ms Dever urges people from all backgrounds to join NAIDOC celebrations.