Aboriginal Tent Embassy underway in Menindee NSW

Menindee, a small town with a shop, hotel and petrol station - situated 1100 kilometres north-west of Sydney

Margaret Paul ABC Indigenous June 27, 2012

About a dozen women camped out in Menindee last night, to start the town's first Aboriginal tent embassy.

As part of the town's NAIDOC week celebrations, they're recognising 40 years of the tent embassy in Canberra.

There'll be a series of groups manning the camp, including women, children and even the local football team.

Assistant Principal at the Menindee Central School, Fiona Kelly, says the camp is designed to raise awareness of the issues indigenous Australians face.

"I think the biggest thing is just to make sure our kids are getting a good education, and I truly believe that they are," she said.

"But I guess it's not lapsing about it, making sure that's still at the forefront of our mind on everything that we do about the kids, getting the outcomes up there comparable to the rest of the state."

Ms Kelly said it's helping students learn about Australian history.

"We actually had to sit down and explain to them what it was about," she said.

"Because for some kids the only thing they knew about the tent embassy was what they saw this year, like with the protest this year with Julia Gillard.

"It was not just about that fight but about people protesting for rights, so that was a big learning curve for the kids but they enjoyed it."

In 2011 Stephen 'Bamba' Albert was in Menindee for a few days as part of their NAIDOC Week celebrations. He said Menindee should be used as an example of how regional Australian towns can thrive.

He says the way the Menindee community respectfully combines Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures makes it a distinctively successful example of progressiveness.

While he was in town, Stephen went to the ABC Broken Hill studio and played his version of the song 'Bran Nue Dae', from the stage musical of the same name, written by Jimmi Chi, with Stephen 'Bamba' playing the lead role of 'Tadpole' in the second play that traveled Australia.

Menindee's annual black pride night

Margaret Paul ABC Indigenous June 27, 2012

Teachers, students and community members were recognized at Menindee's annual black pride night last night.

The event marks the start of NAIDOC week in the town, and featured songs and a re-enactment of the story behind the Aboriginal tent embassy in Canberra.

The coach of the Menindee Yabbies rugby league team, Daniel Fusi received one of seven awards handed out at the event.

Mr Fusi was acknowledge for his contribution to aboriginal education in the community.

He says the people of Menindee are keen to help each other out.

"It's not so much they want hand outs, they just want a hand up. It's about helping each other, we're a small community and we don't have that welfare mentality, that's the difference between Menindee and other communities."

Mr Fusi says sport is an important way to bring people in the town together.

"Not only for the kids, but for the people that are involved like behind the lines, the ladies in the canteen that are always cooking, the people selling raffle tickets, the people helping out on the door, on the gate.

"The parents value the football, and they know it's something that the kids like, so if the kids are mucking up they don't let them play."