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NAIDOC Awards: Ash Barty named Person of the Year for contribution to youth sport and education

Tennis champion Ash Barty has been recognised at the NAIDOC Week Awards in Melbourne. (AAP: Dave Hunt)

Recognised for her contribution to youth sport and education, three-time tennis grand slam singles champion Ash Barty has been named Person of the Year at the 2022 National NAIDOC Week Awards.

Barty, a member of the Ngarigo people, was celebrated for her sporting achievements and role as an ambassador who encourages Indigenous youth to get active, explore their passion and play tennis.

Barty is the second female Australian tennis player to be ranked number one in the world in singles by the Women's Tennis Association, after fellow Indigenous Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley.

In 2018, Barty became the National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador at Tennis Australia.

She is also an ambassador for the State Library of Queensland, where she supports Indigenous education.

Evonne Goolagong Cawley congratulates Ash Barty after she won the Australian Open in January. (AAP: Joel Carrett)

Barty said she was humbled to receive the award.

"Helping inspire kids to go after their dreams is something I am very passionate about and I am committed to giving back in this next chapter of my life."

Stanley Grant Senior and Lois Peeler recognised

Stanley Grant Senior, an Elder and warrior of the Wiradjuri people, received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work to reconstruct the Wiradjuri language.

Dr Grant, his late brother Pastor Cec Grant and Dr John Rudder have collaborated for more than 30 years to re-teach their language from a small base of anthropological records.

They produced language resources including a dictionary, children’s books, song books and university texts.

Lois Peeler, a Yorta Yorta and Wurundjeri woman, was named Female Elder of the year.

In the 1960s, Dr Peeler became Australia’s first Aboriginal model, before joining the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander singing group the Sapphires.

Lois Peeler (left) alongside other members of the Sapphires singing group, Laurel Robinson and Beverley Briggs. (666 ABC Canberra: James Vyver)

Dr Peeler and her sister established an Aboriginal girls' boarding school in 1983.

In recent years, Dr Peeler has worked with the Victorian parliament to create a free digital resource for schools called Aboriginal Change Makers and she chairs the Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee.

A celebration of trailblazers

Held in Naarm (Melbourne), the awards ceremony is hosted by the National NAIDOC Committee.

Committee Co-Chair Shannan Dodson said the annual awards showcase some of Australia's finest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievers, trailblazers and leaders.

"There is so much to be proud of in seeing this year's winners receive their accolades and I look forward to them being celebrated as a part of NAIDOC history," she said.

This year's NAIDOC Week theme is "Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!", which celebrates the history of fighting for progress and urges all Australians to continue to push for systemic change.

Other award recipients include actor, musician and activist Uncle Jack Charles and two-time premiership-winning AFL player Lance "Buddy" Franklin.