Because of David Reid’s grandmother, “he can”.
The proud Wiradjuri man said Wagga’s Aunty Isabel Reid had shaped him to become the man he was today.
No smile was broader than Mr Reid’s, who stood alongside his grandmother at the opening ceremony of this week’s NAIDOC celebrations.
This year’s theme: Because of her, I can.
Mr Reid was not alone in his love for Aunty Isabel.
NAIDOC Week committee chief Des Smith said many local Indigenous men and women drew strength from her story; her resilience and commitment in fighting for a better future.
But at Sunday’s traditional opening ceremony, Aunty Isabel’s Welcome to Country paid tribute to the five men and one woman, who in the early 20th century made great sacrifices in the push for equal rights through the Australian Aborigines Progressive Association.
Aunty Isabel, a survivor of the stolen generations, said it was “because of them” she could.
She said research into her ancestry had revealed two of these men had been relatives.
“That’s where I get my inspiration from,” Aunty Isabel said. “It was a big struggle, but what they did spread down to us.
“Because of them, we can.”
She said NAIDOC – National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee – Week was an exciting time.
“There’s so much you can tell the kids,” Aunty Isabel said.
“It’s about celebrating with everyone coming together and moving forward.”
Aunty Kath Withers said there was nothing she could add, that had not already been said.
“Because of (Aunty Isobel), we can,” Aunty Kath said.