A flag raising ceremony was held outside of Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Chamber in Moruya on Monday morning to kick off NAIDOC Week.
Eurobodalla Mayor, Mathew Hatcher, and Deputy Mayor, Alison Worthington and students from Moruya Public School were in attendance.
Aunty Patricia Ellis did the Welcome to Country while Walbunja man from Mogo, Jordan Nye, and the Maladha Gamara dancers put on a special dance ceremony for the occasion.
Walbunja Elder from the Yuin Nation, Uncle Bunja Smith was the first Indigenous man to physically raise the flag in the Eurobodalla on Monday and he told East Coast Radio it was an honour.
“For the first time ever, an aboriginal person has raised the flag,” Bunja said.
“Because of protocol with flag raising, it’s usually done by a council staff member,” he said.
“The suggestion was made that ‘this year’s theme is for the Elders, so why don’t we get one of our elders to raise the flag’ and I was very proud to say that I was asked to do it.
“I was so moved in the spirit that I actually did a dance, while my nephew Jordan Nye and his dance troop Maladha Gamara sung and played in the background.
“It was a very spiritual and special moment, and you could feel the spirit of the ancestors in that ceremony.”
Mr Nye told East Coast Radio it was a great morning of sharing culture, song and dance.
“It was great to have Uncle Bunja dancing given this year is all about our elders,” Nye said.
“There was big energy of relationships and unity was coming through, and NAIDOC Week is a great time to come together for that.”
“We started Maladha Gamara to show that there’s a rich and powerful culture that’s still alive here, especially along the east coast of Australia.”
“Good relationships are being formed which is great to see.”
For more information about NAIDOC Week events happening along the South Coast visit the Eurobodalla, Bega Valley and Snowy Monaro Council’s websites.
Images: Eurobodalla Shire Council
Video: Jordan Nye