Donna Bliss has been named Forbes' Indigenous Person of the Year for her work to lobby for health services for our Indigenous community.
"(Donna) has worked tirelessly over nearly 20 years to promote the wellbeing of Aboriginal community members," NAIDOC committee chairperson Debbie Gaudie said at NAIDOC Week celebrations on Friday night.
The awards were part of the community celebrations at the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre by Lake Forbes, where hundreds of locals gathered.
Deputy Mayor Chris Roylance introduced the awards and said judges were presented with many worthy recipients for this year's honours.
Donna's work to develop the Yoorana Gunya Family Healing Service to a holistic care medical service with more than 15 staff, with an additional seven under the auspices of Binaal Billa Family Violence Prevention Legal Service, was highlighted.
"(Donna) has lobbied health and government departments for funds to create new programs in relation to health, social and emotional wellbeing, legal representation and support of victims of family and domestic violence and sexual assault," Ms Gaudie said.
"She has championed tirelessly for the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people to provide services to allow them to live healthier and more productive lives."
Artist Steven Ferguson was named our Indigenous Creative Person of the Year, his artworks can be seen throughout the hallways at Yoorana Gunya as well as at Forbes District Hospital.
Indigenous sports person of the year Preston Thorpe was recognised for his outstanding performance on the football field and described as a "wonderful role model".
In 2017 he represented our region in Group 11 representative team. In 2019 and 2020 he was picked for the Western Rams squad.
This year he played up a grade and was part of the under 18s Magpies side who won the grand final
The winner of this year's Youth person of the year Hannah Thorpe was described as responsible, respectful, honest and hardworking.
"She embodies the positive values that we look for in an outstanding young," awards MC Taylor Bliss said.
Taylor spoke about this year's NAIDOC Week theme: Always Was, Always will be.
"For myself, it means that first nations people have occupied and taken care of this country for at least 65,000 years and our nation's story didn't begin with European contact," she said.
"Always was, always will be is about being proud and empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people so that we will continue to thrive, providing children of the future with culture and insight for generations to come.
"Always was, always will be is not just the history of our first nations people, it's history of the nations.
"It's about working together in harmony for a shared future."
NAIDOC Week is about acknowledging First Nations peoples as the oldest and longest surviving culture in the world.
"Our first nations people have maintained, occupied and been culturally and spiritually connected to this country and it is a reflection of our adaptivity and self-determination," Taylor said.
"Our first nations people created the world's first maps, paintings, unique equipment, built structures and handed down language, songs and dance through many generations.
"This year's theme highlights acceptance as a key to reconciliation."