This year’s NAIDOC Week means a lot to Diyan Coe.
Ms Coe, a Wiradjuri woman of Cowra, proudly delivered the Welcome To Country and raised the Aboriginal flag at the flag raising ceremony following the NAIDOC Week march on Monday morning at River Park.
She said this year’s NAIDOC Week theme, “Because of her, we can”, is about recognising the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
Her mother Isabel Coe was a prominent Indigenous leader and was a campaigner for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, and her great-grandmother Edith Murray marched the streets of Sydney on the Day of Mourning in 1938 to bring attention to the mistreatment of Aboriginal people.
“It’s not just them. It’s a lot of other women. It’s important because the women are the backbone of the family. They are the strength, they keep things together. When the men are getting out of line they pull them into line, they pull the kids into line. You can see the strength of the women coming together here,” Diyan Coe said.
Ms Coe said it was a proud moment to read the Welcome To Country in Wiradjuri language.
“My grandparents, my great grandparents, my mother, I’d say they’d be all looking down on me proud,” she said.
“It means a lot that I could do it in language. You don’t get to do that very often. That’s something they didn’t have to do. Because language had been taken and they weren’t allowed to speak it. Now we’re allowed to and we’re teaching it,” she said.
A large crowd gathered at Squire Park for the NAIDOC Week march which began at the intersection of Brisbane Street and Kendal Street about 11am.
The march ended at River Park where the Welcome To Country, flag raising ceremony and a traditional smoking ceremony took place before a family fun day and barbecue.
“It’s also about showing the younger ones we can move forward. And with non-Indigenous people showing that we can live together in harmony and peace. There’s plenty of education needed,” Ms Coe said.
Cowra Mayor Bill West thanked the community for supporting and recognising NAIDOC Week.
“Cowra has been home to many extraordinary Indigenous women whose work in health, welfare, education and in the community has been exceptional and most importantly well respected and very highly regarded,” he said.