After being cancelled and postponed several times due to COVID-19, this year’s National NAIDOC Awards have finally announced its ten winners.

The annual Awards recognise the outstanding contributions First Nations people make to improve the lives of people in their communities and beyond.

And while 2021 was another trying year, and winners could not be celebrated in-person that did not diminish their remarkable achievements.

National NAIDOC Committee Co-Chair, Shannan Dodson said this year’s winners serve as role models for all Australians.

“The ten recipients represent generations of proud First Nations peoples showing their community what can be achieved if you put your mind to something.

The 2021 National NAIDOC Awards recipients are:
• Lifetime Achievement Award – Pat O’Shane AM
• Person of the Year – Keri Tamwoy
• Female Elder of the Year – Christobel Swan
• Male Elder of the Year – Ernest Hoolihan
• Caring for Country – Gadrian Hoosan on behalf of the Borroloola Community
• Youth of the Year – Samara Fernandez-Brown
• Artist of the Year – Bobbi Lockyer
• Scholar of the Year – Sasha Purcell
• Apprentice of the Year – Jarron Andy
• Sportsperson of the Year – Clarence ‘CJ’ McCarthy-Grogan

2021 Person of the Year – Keri Tamwoy

Keri Tamwoy from Wik, Wik Waya and Kugu Country in remote Cape York, QLD, is the co-founder of the Wik Women’s Group which champions for education and safety of women and children.

She is a reformed leader and the newest mayor of Aurukun and, through her hard work and
resilience, believes she will not stop until her local people have power over their own lives.

She also has a leading role in a recent Cape York campaign to co‐design strategies to combat youth sexual violence

Keri recently sat down with NIRS News to talk about receiving the 2021 NAIDOC Person of the Year award and said her proudest achievement is being appointed from her community Elders as ‘Thaa Punt’, the peacemaker.

2021 Person of the Year – Keri Tamwoy