NAIDOC Week: Geraldton Indigenous people, allies and Police rally for working together to “heal land.”

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Liam BeattyGeraldton Guardian
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Rally organiser Louisa Edwards and Geraldton Police Station officer in charge Sen. Sgt Chris Martin.
Camera IconRally organiser Louisa Edwards and Geraldton Police Station officer in charge Sen. Sgt Chris Martin. Credit: Liam Beatty/Geraldton Guardian

Blessed with clear skies and sunny weather, NAIDOC Week ended in Geraldton with a demonstration calling attention to issues still affecting Aboriginal nations on Sunday afternoon.

Organiser, Southern Yamatji Nations woman Louisa Edwards, spoke about the 2021 NAIDOC Week theme of Heal Country, saying all people needed to work together and fight to prevent environmental damage.

Organiser Louisa Edwards.
Camera IconOrganiser Louisa Edwards. Credit: Geraldton Guardian

“I’ve chosen to be here today because our land is hurting,” she said. “I will speak up because our country can’t speak for itself.”

She spoke at length about the impact of mining companies in WA, saying for “too long” they had been allowed to operate on sacred ground and damage culturally significant sites — such as Rio Tinto’s destruction of the Juukan Gorge last year.

Local advocates from Clean Slate and the Geraldton Youth Regeneration Organisation called for land use agreements to be developed in consultation with traditional owners.

I’ve chosen to be here today because our land is hurting. I will speak up because our country can’t speak for itself.

- Southern Yamatji Nations woman Louisa Edwards.
Rally attendees march down Marine Terrace on Sunday afternoon.
Camera IconRally attendees march down Marine Terrace on Sunday afternoon. Credit: Geraldton Guardian

“It’s the last day of NAIDOC Week,” he said. “But we all need to continue working together to heal the challenges still felt by our Aboriginal community.”

“With this tree as a symbol, recognition will continue to grow about the past, and healing can continue.”

The rally ended with a walk down Marine Terrace from Edith Cowan Square, which Ms Edwards said was to draw community attention to recognise and protect First Nations’ culture and connection to the land.

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