Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy ready to celebrate

Thirteen may be unlucky for some, but members of the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy will mark their baker's dozen anniversary with a two-day celebration this weekend.

Since being established in December 2000 to block and protest a proposed development on Sandon Point, the tent embassy has been one of the most prominent and controversial sites in the Illawarra.

After resisting continual efforts to be moved on, numerous court cases, and rebuilding after a 2005 arson attack, Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy (SPATE) will chalk up 13 years on the point by hosting two days of traditional music, dance and food on Saturday and Sunday.

"It's about sharing the space with the community, and the community being able to demonstrate support for the embassy and the Aboriginal issues that still exist," event organiser Karen Gough said.

Indigenous musicians including Coloured Stone and Frank Yamma, as well as local acts The Glamma Rays, Chuparosa and Beatmeisters will be among more than a dozen musical acts on show, with drum circles, dance performances and surf demonstrations through the weekend.

"People can come and see some great Aboriginal culture," Ms Gough said.

SPATE ambassador Roy "Dootch" Kennedy has been with the embassy since day one. He said the embassy was still relevant and important to Aboriginal and Australian culture today, raising issues important to indigenous people.

"Social justice has always been our objective, some recognition for Aboriginal culture and heritage," he said.

"We still need to have our grassroots voices, and the embassy represents those voices."

Mr Kennedy said he was proud the embassy had notched up 13 years, and that SPATE would continue working to highlight and address issues affecting indigenous people.

"Everything we've done, win, lose or break even, we've raised the bar on what we believe to be wrong. We didn't always have money to appeal things in court, but we protested the decisions we thought to be wrong," he said. "We'll keep working towards discussions and meaningful dialogue along the path of full reconciliation."

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