"This is not a stroll, it is a march - stand tall and be proud."
With these words Uncle Rob Bryant, along with Uncle Abby Wilson, led a small but committed group of Gumbaynggirr families along with the mayor Rhonda Hoban, to the opening event of NAIDOC Week in the Nambucca Shire.
The group marched from Macksville Public School to the council chambers, where they were met by councillors and other supporters.
The flags were raised, Cheyenne Baker did the Welcome to Country and Mayor Hoban spoke to this year's NAIDOC theme of 'Voice, Treaty, Truth: working together for a shared future'.
"For a long time Aboriginal people have wanted a greater role in Australian democracy," Mayor Hoban said.
"Voice, treaty and truth are three key elements set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which I encourage anyone, indigenous or not, to read it.
"It's a short, straight-forward but very powerful one page document ... it offers one voice on a range of issues and grievances with a specific sequence of reforms to right the wrongs."
I reckon if a bunch of white fellas had got together, there would have been 600 pages that would probably have said lessMayor Rhonda Hoban on the Uluru Statement from the Heart
She said for reconciliation to be successful, there needed to be a "shared truthful understanding of the dispute, the history and how we got to where we are today".
"The story of the colonisation of Australia needs to be heard and acknowledged by all Australians, it's the history of all of us - the good, the bad and the ugly, we need to own it, ... so that every child can be taught the true history, here in the valley as well."
She said she was pleased that Nambucca Council had recently voted unanimously to tell the Federal Government that it supported the Uluru Statement ... "something that is a pretty big step by this community and this council".
Uncle Rob Bryant followed with a rousing speech that reminded people of the role of North Coast Aboriginal people in the ongoing fight for recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
"Gumbaynggirr people were part of the 1938 Day of Mourning, that protested 150 years of colonisation ... we should be proud of our forefathers, who fought, as we do today, for recognition, truth and a treaty," Uncle Rob said.
"It may not happen in my life, but there will come an Australian prime minister who will fight for our people.
"The truth needs to be told about the frontier wars ... the last massacre of Aboriginal people was in 1928, in Coniston in the Northern Territory - 60 elders, women and children were killed.
"We never laid down our arms, we fought and we continue to fight for recognition in this country."
NAIDOC events continue around the shire this week:
There is an Elders morning tea in Bowraville tomorrow (Tuesday) followed by a kids disco in the evening in Macksville.
A family fun day with a bush tucker lunch will be held at Bowraville on Wednesday with a similar event in Nambucca Heads on Thursday.
Friday will see a netball day at the Macksville Netball Courts. The finale is a dinner/DJ event on Saturday night at Nambucca Heads.