"Remember our elders."
That was the message at Dubbo's 2023 annual NAIDOC Memorial March and Family Fun Day as hundreds of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people came together.
The theme for NAIDOC week is "For Our Elders", and local elder Aunty Margaret Walker said it was a time where everyone could come together to celebrate Aboriginal people.
"We can celebrate the beautiful culture, the people and it becomes a big get together for everyone," she said.
"We can't all get together in the same spot for NAIDOC Week, and even if we don't all meet on the same day, we can all get out and do something."
Claiming it was the "best" NAIDOC parade she's ever seen, Aunty Margaret said it was a really "good" and "positive" sign to see the police marching beside them.
"It was great and Mrs [Joanne] Carr who couldn't walk got put in the police car, right up the front," she said.
"It felt like a day where we all just came together."
Acting Assistant Commissioner for the Western Region, Scott Tanner couldn't have been happier with being asked to march.
"I certainly enjoyed it and want to thank everyone for inviting us and I look forward to this being a continual partnership," he said.
The Assistant Commissioner showed his enthusiasm, joining Dinawan's Connections in performing traditional dances.
"When I think of Wiradjuri nation, I think of people that are brave, resilient and tough and certainly the elders of which this NAIDOC celebration is all about have shown us that pathway," he said.
"Over the next couple of days or the next week or so if you have an opportunity to speak to one of the elders, it doesn't matter if you're Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal, take the time and discover their journey, because you'll come out richer from that conversation than what you went in with."
On behalf of the Dubbo Aboriginal NAIDOC committee and the Dubbo Aboriginal Community Working Party, Rob Wiley asked the residents to take 30 seconds to think of an elder that has touched their lives.
"Without our elders we wouldn't be here today, everything we can think of as Aboriginal people has been given to us really," he said.
"They fought the struggles before us, they're fighting the struggles with us today and hopefully we are producing new elders in the community to keep that fight alive."
Mr Riley said many elders had to keep their culture hidden, so it was "great" to see it "flourishing" not just in Dubbo but in all communities.
"If you take anything from today, think about our elders before us, take a lesson that they've taught and try and put it into practice," he said.
Reading this on mobile web? Download our news app. It's faster, easier to read and we'll send you alerts for breaking news as it happens. Download in the Apple Store or Google Play.