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NAIDOC Week Baby Show connects families and culture from young age

NAIDOC Week Baby Show (ABC Capricornia: Rachel McGhee)

The crowd cheers as Mahara Domic walks proudly to the podium, her one-year-old son Prince White in her arms.

The Iman, Kullilli and Kalkadoon woman has dressed the toddler in a T-shirt with an Aboriginal flag printed on the front for his first appearance at the annual NAIDOC Baby Show.

"It's good for the kids to know about their culture and see all the other kids around that they'll probably know growing up," Ms Domic said.

Mahara Domic says it's important for her son Prince White to connect with culture. (ABC Capricornia: Rachel McGhee)

Prince was one of dozens of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who crawled and walked down the red carpet on Darumbal Country in central Queensland to compete for the title of Miss or Master NAIDOC.

"With our little babies, it's about them being able to acknowledge people — the smiles, the waves," NAIDOC chair Kristina Hatfield said.

"Then you get into the toddlers … they're moving, they're walking and then when you get to the seven-12 years it's about their responses.

"We ask them questions about NAIDOC, ask them who their favourite Indigenous person is."

Babies were cheered as they were carried or crawled their way to the stage in their traditional dress. (ABC Capricornia: Rachel McGhee)

Although it unfolds under the eye of judges, the show is more a lighthearted way to introduce children to culture.

"It's not about us putting our babies on display and judging, it's just about the parents and their interactions with their kids," Ms Hatfield said.

Kristina Hatfield enjoyed the competition with her niece Jocelyn Kemp. (ABC Capricornia: Rachel McGhee)

Strengthening ties

Wakka Wakka and Wangan and Jagalingou woman Cecily Lane attended the show to watch her nine-month-old grandson Koby.

She said it was an important event that strengthened family ties.

"It just comes back to strengthening everyone in the community, lifting everyone up and taking part."

Koby Mimi plays with Prince White at the NAIDOC Baby Show. (ABC Capricornia: Rachel McGhee)

Wadja Wadja woman Waynette Rankin said bringing her one-year-old son Tyrell along was about connecting with family.

"I love that he's interacting with the young people and his cousins, it's nice to get him involved," she said.

"If he doesn't win, or does win, I don't mind just him having a go. He's here with his little cousin so hopefully him and his little cousin will have a good time."

Tyrell Rankin, 1, takes part in the NAIDOC Baby Show.  (ABC Capricornia: Rachel McGhee)

Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up

The 2022 NAIDOC Week theme is Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up.

Ms Hatfield said it was about non-Indigenous allies supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

"We as Aboriginal people, get up, stand up, show up, every day," she said.

"It's about the non-Indigenous people in communities, in those businesses, in those government departments, for them they need to start getting up and showing up and standing up for us."

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