The renaissance of the Gathang language and a push for a treaty was on the minds of several speakers at Taree High School's NAIDOC Night.
Taking the microphone in front of a packed school hall on Thursday, June 20, many performers and special guests reflected on a variety of achievements and issues.
Comedian Andy Saunders took a step back from his quirky antics to speak from the heart.
"Our first language was Gathang, Biripi language, and it was taken from us.
"It's really, really great to see so many people committed to revitalising that.
"These are the first steps of becoming a more progressive nation.
"Treaty is something we've been after for a long time. If we started with a treaty in 1788, this country would be a lot different," Andy said.
Pam Saunders spoke about the significance of this year's NAIDOC Week theme, the success of integrating language into schools and Aboriginal culture being accepted by non-Aboriginal people.
"Our voice has been told over and over again from our ancestors as well as those who led years and years ago when everything started for us.
"This generation can change it, this generation has a voice more powerful now.
"I can see the truth is starting to be taught in schools all over Australia.
"The truth about the first people of Australia without a treaty and something signed to say that we are recognised as people in this country. For many years we've wanted something signed," Pam said.
Joan McDonald expressed her joy at the growth of Gathang in the area.
"It's like a song to me, to listen to that language being spoken again," Joan said.
Aboriginal people don't want recognition, they want a treaty.Grant Saunders
"I'm happy it's being revived."
Meanwhile, Grant Saunders outlined how he wasn't convinced the current Australian political landscape will bring about a treaty.
He also credited former prime ministers Gough Whitlam and Paul Keating for being compassionate about the rights of Aboriginal people.
"Aboriginal people don't want recognition, they want a treaty," Grant said.
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