NAIDOC week kicks off

BENDIGONIANS have many opportunities to celebrate indigenous culture this week. 

The city will celebrate NAIDOC Week, an annual event which recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Some of the events and activities include a flag raising ceremony in the Bendigo Civic Gardens, an art exhibition at Bendigo TAFE, a children's day and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries will hold a smoking ceremony.

Aunty Lynn Warren, who is a member of the Bendigo NAIDOC committee and chair of the Bendigo District Co-operation, said celebrations would bring the community together. 

"It is a celebration of all of our achievements throughout the year," she said.

"Everyone comes together and celebrates the meaning of NAIDOC."

Aunty Lynn, who has been involved in NAIDOC Week for many years, said the celebration continued to grow. 

Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said the week was about respect, recognition and reconciliation.

"It is about respecting that Australia was settled before Europeans arrived in the country," she said.

"It's a week of celebration but at the same time it's a moment to reflect and acknowledge that we still have a lot of work to do to bridge the gap." 

Ms Chesters said the nation had come a long way in recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and their connection to the land. 

"Ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have access to the same rights and opportunities of non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders - we have started on that journey," she said. 

"But we still have a lot of work to do in the healing (process).

"In our own region we are discovering more and more historical and world heritage significant artefacts."

The week runs from July 6 to 13. Visit www.bendigo.vic.gov.au to find out what's on. 

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