This morning, Police Minister Mark Ryan joined Commissioner Ian Stewart for a flag raising ceremony and breakfast in celebration of NAIDOC week at Police Headquarters. This event was attended by representatives of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, Queensland Police say.
The ceremony began outside Police Headquarters where MC Superintendent Mark Plath introduced this years flag raisers, Detective Senior Sergeant Sam Bliss, a proud Torres Strait Islander woman and, Indigenous artist Jenna Lee (Gilimbaa) of the Larrakia people, who was responsible for the ‘Look to the Stars’ artwork in keeping with the national theme ‘Because of Her, We Can’.
For the occasion, members of the Queensland Police Service, including Commissioner Ian Stewart, were adorned in the ‘Look to the Stars’ artwork which has been replicated into a police uniform and is pictured below.
Detective Senior Sergeant Sam Bliss, Minister Mark Bailey, Jenna Lee and Commissioner Ian Stewart with members of the Queensland Police Service in their ‘Look to the Stars’ uniform on the steps of Police Headquarters.
After the official flag raising ceremony, guests made their way across to the Hotel Jen for a breakfast hosted by Commission Ian Stewart. Commissioner Stewart took this opportunity to have members of the police service gather with himself, Minister for Police and Corrective Services Mark Ryan, Senior Sergeant Sam Bliss and Jenna Lee, under the permanent installation of the ‘Look to the Stars’ artwork which features on the ceiling of the entrance to Police Headquarters.
To begin the breakfast, Aunty Alex Gator & Aunty Evelyn Waria led the prayers with acknowledgement to their ancestors and also the role women have played in their upbringing and culture.
Aunty Evelyn Waria and Aunty Alex Gator leading the breakfast in prayer
Uncle Des Sandy presented the Welcome to Country speech which highlighted the significance of the Roma Street area.
The keynote speakers for the event were Senior Sergeant Sam Bliss and Jenna Lee who both eloquently spoke about their upbringing and the powerful impact of being a strong indigenous woman.
Detective Senior Sergeant Sam Bliss said she drew inspiration from her daughters.
“They have made be a better mum, a better Aunty, a better sister, a better friend, a better Police Officer but most importantly a better community leader. Their achievements, their voice, their unwavering passion gives me strength and empowers me to pave the way for generations to come. Because of her, we can!” she said.
Commissioner Ian Stewart spoke to the importance of the ‘Look to the Stars’ artwork for years to come and the important place that it plays in reconciliation and the future of the Queensland Police Service relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities.
“NAIDOC Week is a time to come together and celebrate the oldest continuing cultures on earth and to acknowledge the significant contributions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made to our country and society” said Minister Mark Ryan in his address.
Olivia Burrows also shared a poem about her Indigenous heritage which paid tribute to her nan. Her presence and her poem reinforced the importance of the emerging leaders in the community, of which she is one.
The breakfast concluded with a vote of thanks given by Uncle Bill Invinson who made special tribute to Detective Senior Sergeant Sam Bliss and Jenna Lee for their important work in the community.
Senior Constable Tamara White and Commissioner Ian Stewart with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders.
You can find out more about the Look to the Stars artwork and NAIDOC week.