Aboriginal elders June Field and Shirley Long were recognised for their commitment to the community on Wednesday night.
The women both received the themed award at the biennial NAIDOC Week Awards at the Gunnedah and Services and Bowling Club in National NAIDOC Week. This year’s theme is ‘Because of her, we can’.
Ms Field was nominated because “she helped the Aboriginal community wherever she could”.
She has been a voluntary board member on the Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council for 12 years and has “always gone beyond, cooking food for people’s wakes or for a family in need”.
“She is just a great person to have in our community for all the hard work she does. Even when her health was not good at times, it never slowed her down,” the nomination said.
“June has raised a very strong family… and has lived by her standards and believes in having respect and morals and is polite to everyone she meets or talks to.”
Ms Long was nominated because she is a “role model for Aboriginal women”.
“Shirley shows passion in all the activities she’s participated in within the Women’s Group. She is definitely a role model for the younger generation,” the nomination said.
“Shirley has a beautiful grace about her… She has kept a quiet peace and dignity and has opened her home to many.
“Her life is her impact. Her grace in all circumstances is her legacy. Her contentment eliminates all hardships.”
Emcee Wayne Griffiths spoke on the theme of NAIDOC Week and commended the Indigenous women in the Gunnedah area.
“I really do applaud the women in our lives. They 100 per cent shape the men in our community today,” he said.
“The women in the community have been our main strength.
“We’ve been really lucky in our community to have strong Aboriginal women in the past and the present. They’ve made contributions that have benefited all of us.”
The Welcome to Country was spoken by James Hogbin followed by traditional dances by Indigenous youth.
Academic Achiever – Primary, Years 5 & 6: Jorgi Owers and Zoe McAlpine
Academic Achiever – High School: Grace Jaeger and Deagan Marchant
Professional Development: Kerren Boyd and Peter Davis
Sportsperson Contribution: Daniel Loftus and Jacqui Jones (absent)
Community Contribution: Linda Smyth and Wayne Griffiths
NAIDOC Theme Award – ‘Because of her, we can’: Shirley Long and June Field