First and foremost I would like to acknowledge the First Nations People of Australia. I acknowledge and pay respect to those past, and those who still walk our beautiful mother earth whose connections give spiritual, united and cultural significance to all Indigenous Peoples of Australia.
This year’s NAIDOC theme pays homage to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have fought in defence of country.
From our warriors in the Frontier Wars to our warriors who have served with honour and pride in Australia’s military conflicts and engagements across the globe.
I was fortunate to honour my great grandfather, Private George Madigan, at a military service in Ingham recently. He was an Aboriginal man who enlisted in the Australian armed forces, was a member of the third contingent of the Australian Commonwealth Horse 7th Brigade sent to South Africa in 1902, more than 100 years ago to fight in the Boer War.
He was buried as a Boer War veteran by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission after lying for more than 40 years in an unmarked plot. The grave of Private George Madigan in Ingham in far-north Queensland now has an official plaque acknowledging his military service.
National Events like NAIDOC Week are such a great time for all Australians, no matter what their ethnic background, to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and how important it is to recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their culture. In my personal opinion, and in the true spirit of reconciliation and honouring the First Nations People of Australia… Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture should be embedded in our everyday practice. It marks a time of Remembering.. Acknowledging.. and Celebrating together as a nation.
So make sure you check out what is happening in your local area and stand up and be a part of our journey!
HAPPY NAIDOC WEEK, 2014.
May Kabay is a Warrgamay woman from the Herbert River Region, Queensland. The land in which her mother was born. Her roots also extends up to the Miaridai Clan in Parama village, Daru Island – PNG. The land is which her father was born.