The second annual Ngulla NAIDOC Festival started with a reflective, traditional opening on the lawns of Ulladulla Civic Centre on Friday.
Deb Sturgeon led the Welcome to Country as Vic Channell and Paul Keith started the smoking ceremony.
Ulladulla High School students Joseph Stewart, Jayden Perry and Riley Nolan added to the reflective atmosphere, providing background sounds with their didgeridoos, as the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islands and Australian flags were raised behind them.
The boys then led the ceremony to a separate stage area where Ulladulla Primary School students performed two pieces.
Year 4 girls danced to Michelle McBride’s song, named after the NAIDOC week theme, Because of Her, We Can.
A large group of students then performed their entertaining NAIDOC rap to Richard Barry’s riff.
The hook of the song, sung by the students, paid tribute to Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody’s From Little Things Big Things Grow, which was based on the story of the Gurindji strike in the Northern Territory.
A lunch for elders and sponsors will be held at 1pm while many stalls featuring Indigenous artwork, as well as local health and community services, have been set up across the lawns.
The theme for this year’s NAIDOC Week, Because of Her, We Can! celebrates the role women play in communities across Australia.