The South Australia NAIDOC Award for lifetime achievement in the education category was presented to Professor Paul Hughes at Adelaide Town Hall on Monday.
Professor Paul Hughes was recognised for making a significant contribution to Indigenous education through his work at the Indigenous College of Education and Research at the University of Adelaide.
"You don't do these things to win awards," Mr Hughes told NITV News. "But it's nice to see after a long period of time you get recognised. It's a very proud moment to be able to be honoured in that sort of way."
Professor Hughes has been on the chair of the National Aboriginal Education Committee and the South Australian Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee, among others.
He is also a member of the Australian Council for Educational Research and the South Australian Centre for Lifelong Learning.
Another proud winner was Hayden Bromley, who accepted on behalf of a successful SA tourism business that distributes a range of bush foods called Outback Pride, They have begun to take prominence in mainstream food media, featuring on reality programs including Master Chef Australia and The Cook and the Chef.
Dignitaries, including Indigenous leader and NAIDOC Ambassador Frank Lampard and Adelaide Mayor Martin Haese, attended the NAIDOC Opening Ceremony where more than 350 guests attended.
Indigenous elders Aunty Lowitja O'Donohue and Aunty Josie Agius were in attendance with South Australia NAIDOC chairperson Joyleen Thomas.
Ms Thomas told NITV News that NAIDOC week was about sharing First Peoples culture and showing the country their strength.
"It's a week of celebrating for me and I think it's fantastic that we can honour our people, old people and young people and inbetween, and I think we try to spread it across the state as well," Ms Thomas said.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were both unfurled from the top balcony of the Town Hall where they will remain throughout the week.
-with Andrea Booth