CULTURE, competition and community.
That was the essence of a touch football round-robin competition held at CSU on Thursday, which celebrates NAIDOC Day.
Now in it's third year, the event, organised by Chifley Police District's Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer, Percy Raveneau, attracted 12 teams from as far afield as Dubbo.
Mr Raveneau said the idea behind the day was to bring the community together and break down barriers between police and young people.
Months of planning went into the event, but the hard work paid off, with the region's youth embracing it with open arms.
"It's a real community event," Mr Raveneau said.
"We're celebrating NAIDOC Day, and it's brings everyone together," he said.
Mr Raveneau started the touch footy competition three years ago with just four teams.
He said he loved the way it had been embraced and grown during that time.
"It's been very popular, the kids see me down the street and ask about it, and when it's on," he said.
In all 12 teams competed in the day with teams coming from as far as Dubbo as well as local secondary schools, a police side and a CSU side as well.
Mr Raveneau thanked everyone who was part of the day, as well as sponsors, who he said made the event possible.
"This is about celebrating Indigenous culture and building relationships within the community and with the police.
"It's getting bigger and bigger every year. I've got more schools ringing me up to be part of it which is great," he said.
Before the day began, Wiradyuri elder Dinawan Dyirribang gave a Welcome to Country, which was followed by a smoking ceremony.
Kelso High student Jayden Thornbury, then addressed the gathering reflecting on NAIDOC Day, 2019.
He spoke on the 65,000 year history of the Aboriginal people, how they cared for Country and how the country had cared for them, including the provision of food, medicine, science and technology.
He said while attempts were made in history to silence the Indigenous voice, culture and existence, the culture was not lost.
"We fought hard and continue to fight for our voice to be heard," he said, adding Indigenous people want to be acknowledged for what they are; the First Peoples and original custodians of this country.
Dinawan said it lifted his spirit to see NAIDOC celebrated and a cohesive community coming together, saying it "was important to build relations."