Time for recognition| story photos and video

Charlie Ashby was proud to be part of the Journey to Recognition Relay because it gave him the chance to help showcase his culturally pride.

Mr Ashby joined the Recognise movement’s information session at the Nowra School of Arts this week because he and many others want to see changes made so  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples get the recognition they deserve.

“This (the Journey to Recognition Relay) in a way is like closing the gap and for the whole community to get together to showcase local talent, especially indigenous talent,” the Jerrinja resident said.

“I wear the Aboriginal flag on my shirt not only to be proud but also as a political statement to say no matter what we have gone through that we are still here, standing tall and proud.

“I wear my colours proudly to let everyone know I am doing good in the community and you can't base us off the one person.”

Recognise is the movement to raise awareness of the need to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution and build support for change ahead of any referendum.

The group aims to raise awareness of the need to end the exclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from the Australian Constitution and deal with racial discrimination in it.

Nowra was one of five stops being held in the South Coast this week.

Uncle Stevie Widders, an Anaiwan and Kamilaroi Elder, spoke at the Nowra meeting.

The Honey Dance

Uncle Stevie said the past can’t be changed so it was important to focus on the future.

“We can pave the way to treaty if you have recognition,” he said.

The respected elder said theirs, the oldest surviving culture in the world, needed to be given official recognition.

Uncle Stevie said it was the good the Djungah (Octopus) dancers from the Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and Family Centre attended the event.

“It’s about being proud of our culture and sharing it with the rest of the world,” Uncle Stevie said.

Since 26 May 2013, the Journey to Recognition relay has been on the road for 316 days, travelling through 268 communities, travelling by foot, bike, four-wheel drive, kayak, surfboard, boat and paddle board, holding 358 events and meetings, engaging more than 27 200 people and covering more than 39 700 kilometres in recognition events across Victoria, South Australia, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland, the Torres Strait Islands, Tasmania and NSW.

The group is aiming to change the Australian Constitution which could be next year in a referendum.