Michael James takes out Parkes Shire NAIDOC honour, Kyah Turnbull our Indigenous Youth winner

Michael James has been named as Parkes NAIDOC Indigenous Community Person of the Year.

The announcement was made at the Parkes Community NAIDOC celebrations on Monday where Kyah Turnbull was named the Parkes NAIDOC Indigenous Youth of the Year and presented with the Annette Sloane Award.

Cr Kenny McGrath, respected local elder Aunty Margaret Sloane and Robert King Chairperson of MLAHMC LTD were special guests at the event hosted by MLAHMC (previously Mid Lachlan Aboriginal Housing Management Co) at Parkes High School.

MLAHMC Manager Seth Toomey spoke of the value of this year's NAIDOC theme - Voice. Treaty. Truth.

"Our voice is over 65,000 years old, it was the first words spoken on this continent," he said.

"A voice that has passed down lore, culture and knowledge over this time. It is precious to our nation.

"Our voice connects us to country, an understanding of country and of a people who are the oldest continuing culture on the planet."

A proud Wiradjuri man, Seth said Indigenous Australians want their voice to be heard.

"We have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia's democracy," he said.

"In the European settlement of Australia, there were no treaties, no formal settlements, no compacts."

Australia is one of the few liberal democracies around the world which still does not have a treaty or treaties or some other kind of formal acknowledgement or arrangement with its Indigenous minorities.

"A substantive treaty has always been the primary aspiration of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander movement," Seth said.

"The true colonization story must be told, must be heard, and must be acknowledged.

"Hearing this story is necessary before we can come to a true reconciliation and genuine healing for both sides.

"This is not just the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people - it is the history of all Aussies, and we need to own it.

"We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future."

Cr Kenny McGrath said Parkes Shire Council plays a big part in NAIDOC Week and also in our Aboriginal community.

"We are in the midst of creating an Aboriginal garden on the corner of Orange and Eugowra Roads," he said.

"Also we are doing a lot of work at our Bushman's Hill precinct including building a toilet block.

"Bushman's Hill is a big part of our Aboriginal community, we do respect that hill and we have big plans for it."

Indigenous youth Kyah Turnbull and Nicayden Greenwood spoke of what it means to them to be Aboriginal.

"As young aboriginal people in society we face continuous difficulties regarding the questioning of our Aboriginality and the inability of our voices to be heard, both among the older generation and our own," Kyah said.

Nicayden said he and Kyah have recognised situations where they have felt as if they are living almost in two worlds, with one side comprising of their Aboriginal heritage and the other surrounding Australian society.

"Regardless of this we are extremely proud to be Aboriginal and are determined to ensure the future generations of this great nation's first people never have to endure a feeling of segregation," he said.

Dancers from River Spirit Cultural Arts in Forbes and Galumaay Dancers in Orange entertained the crowd with traditional dance led by Luke Barnes.

Other nominees for the Indigenous Person of the Year were Kelly Thompson, Karen James, Emily James and Courtney James; and Indigenous Youth of the Year - Nicayden Greenwood, Rhys James, Taj Lovett and Linc James.