Gunnedah primary school students have heard the importance of having confidence in one’s own cultural identity during the opening day of its Naidoc Week activities.

Gunnedah South Public School hosted a Welcome to Country, smoking ceremony and indigenous performances at the Monday morning event.

Gamilaroi woman, Gunnedah’s Hollie Crawford, spoke to students about the theme of this year’s Naidoc Week – ‘Keep the fire burning: Blak, loud and proud’.

She told students to imagine they were at a campfire, telling stories with family and friends.

“The fire is connection to the land and one another … to keep our culture alive and strong,” Ms Crawford said.

She said the second part of the theme encouraged people to celebrate culture with confidence.

The former Gunnedah student explained how school teachers were a big part of her early years – helping instil characteristics such as resilience and team work.

“With education comes knowledge and knowledge is power,” Ms Crawford said.

She also urged students to lead with their heart as ultimately it was their “future” and their “choice”.

South’s Naidoc Week activities continue tomorrow with a closing ceremony and community touch football match.

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