Hayley Gray will pull on Jets’ Indigenous Round jersey tomorrow with a growing sense of pride.
Hayley is from the Kullilli tribe and grew up in Thargomindah - 12 hours’ drive west of Brisbane and almost 200kms beyond Cunnamulla.
“It’s a very proud Indigenous town,” she said. “My whole family is strongly Indigenous and proud of it, especially on my Dad’s side.
“The Indigenous round hasn't always been well recognised, but this year .... it’s insane!
“You won’t find a club without an Indigenous jersey. All the hard work over the years is coming off.”
Moreton Bay United and ACE are joining clubs across country by acknowledging the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to our great game.
Players and families which identify as Indigenous are at both clubs and our senior teams will wear special shirts for the Indigenous Round (July 7-9) and NAIDOC Week (July 2-9).
“I always believed NAIDOC Week shouldn’t just be one week. It should be constantly recognised," the forward added.
“Everyone gets excited for seven days, but that should be carried on through the whole year."
This year the NAIDOC theme is “For Our Elders”, recognising the Elders in the Indigenous community.
“Bringing that into something like football, which I’m so passionate about, is very important to me,” Hayley said.
And her message to members of both our clubs is: “Get out and support your teams this weekend.
“Please do that every week, but it is now a little more important than other weekends.
“There are a lot of NAIDOC and cultural events this week, so if you can, go and support some of them.”
NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginals and Islanders Day Observance Committee. NAIDOC Week is held from the first Sunday in July each year.