The NSW Aboriginal Land Council has has been celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act in the state with three major events.
Last month, NSWALC Councillor for the Wiradjuri Region, Leeanne Hampton, held a Wiradjuri Corroboree at Marrambidya Wetlands, Wagga Wagga featuring stunning dance performances from three Central West/Riverina Aboriginal dance troupes.
She also hosted a 2-day forum for representatives from the 21 Local Aboriginal Land Councils in her region.
"The Wiradjuri Corroboree was held not long after the divisive Voice referendum debate,'' Cr Hampton said.
"It was important for everyone to come together and celebrate Aboriginal culture and heritage. It was also fitting we could pay tribute to and hear from legends and pioneers of the Land Rights movement of the 1970s and 80s, Uncle Hewitt and Aunty Dot Whyman.''
At the Tamworth Golf Club, NSWALC Councillor for the Northern Region, Cr Charles Lynch, held a gala dinner featuring country music star, Uncle Roger Knox. There were representatives from Cr Lynch's 14 LALCs and Uncle Roger was surprised with a cake for another important anniversary - his birthday.
"I would like to thank each and every one of you for your support of the Land Rights Network, and the importance of self-determination and your work for economic independence and prosperity for your local mob,'' Cr Lynch told diners.
"I'm so proud of what the 14 LALCs have achieved in my Region whether directly or indirectly, great or small, it all matters from successful land claims, grants and opportunities to implement social outcomes to economic participation.''
To round out proceedings for the year, Cr BJ Duncan, the elected councillor for Sydney/Newcastle, held a two-day regional forum at Wyong with a gala dinner on the first evening. There were representatives from Cr Duncan's 11 LALCs, including some of the region's biggest such as Metropolitan, Darkinjung and Gandangara.
"I want to acknowledge all of the great work being done by the LALCs in the Sydney Newcastle region,'' Cr Duncan said.
"It is inspiring how you are working to improve the lives of mob, protecting our land and waterways, and laying the economic bedrock of self-determination for our future generations.''
It is expected NSWALC Deputy Chairperson, Cr Ross Hampton, will be holding an event in Menindee early in 2024.
NSWALC said the occasions were important in order to honour "Land Rights legends" from the past, and for all Local Aboriginal Land Councils to come together and celebrate, particularly smaller LALCs in regional areas.
Elena Weatherall, from Glen Innes LALC, said the 40th anniversary of the ALRA gala dinner at Tamworth was an important occasion.
"I'm taking this opportunity to meet other people from other LALCs because I think it's really important that we all work together to make our communities abundant and prosperous,'' Elena said.
"If we can connect and show that we can all be working together for the same thing, then I think it will benefit all our communities."