SHARING CULTURE: Artist Tully DeVries, centre, with young supporters.
SHARING CULTURE: Artist Tully DeVries, centre, with young supporters. DEIRDRE SMITH

Serious side to our NAIDOC celebrations

TULLY DeVries was face-painting and running art activities at the NAIDOC event at the Community Op Shop yesterday.

While the mood was celebratory, she had a few comments to the news the Federal Government will commit to a referendum to allow recognition of indigenous people in the Constitution.

"I don't want a referendum,” she said. "I want a treaty.”

Ms DeVries said she was 'really disappointed' the last time a referendum was attempted.

"It didn't even get off the ground,” she said. "It was a waste of time and money.”

While events are being held all over Australia this week to observe NAIDOC Week, more militant action is also being taken with a rally and march from Parliament House in Brisbane on Friday.

"It's a national day of action,” Ms DeVries said. "We are still campaigning for equal rights.”

She said a particular focus this year would be on children who were held in adult jails.

Activities at yesterday's local event included magic bush wands made from fallen branches with recycled ribbon and lace, painting indigenous symbols and rock art.

Ms DeVries conducts workshops in schools and libraries and has just finished painting a mural on the toilet block at Wallangarra.

"I enjoy sharing my culture with people,” she said. "Everybody is keen and interested.

"It is definitely all stuff done with love.”

Her work also has a more serious side.

"Our history is coming out,” she said. "It is not recorded in the same way as white history.”

The push for a treaty would recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sovereignty over land.

Supporters say Australia is one of the few liberal democracies which does not have a treaty or other of formal acknowledgement or arrangement with its indigenous minorities.

Attention is also being given to languages as 2019 is the United National Year of Indigenous Languages.

Event organiser Maria DeVries also thanked Dominos Pizza for their support.