BREAKING down barriers and working hard towards an equal and understanding future, NAIDOC Week today officially started with celebrations underway on the Coffs Coast.

This morning, council and members of the Yandaarra Aboriginal Advisory Committee opened the week with the official flag raising ceremony and morning tea.

"NAIDOC week is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and for all of us to recognise the contribution that indigenous Australians have made to our community," Coffs Harbour Mayor, Councillor Denise Knight said.

"The events and celebrations offer the community an important opportunity to enjoy and celebrate the importance of NAIDOC week.

Events will be happening along the coast during the week, which started yesterday and will continue until Sunday, June 9.

"It means so much to me today, we're leading the way for younger generations to come through," local Aboriginal elder and serviceman Trevor Wilson said.

"We're breaking down the barriers, it's wonderful to be part of history.

The Grace Roberts Award winners, aimed at recognising the contribution of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples contribution to the community were announced on the weekend.

Award winners were:

Sue Tomkins - Grace Roberts Memorial Community Development Award,

Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan - Aboriginal Community Organisation or Business of the Year Award,

Jasmine Hovermann - Academic Achievement Award,

Cassey Lynwood - Sports Achievement Award,

Tony Dootson - Arts and Cultural Pursuits Achievement Award,

Charlotte Bedford - Youth of the Year Award



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