NAIDOC celebrations kicked off over the weekend, running from July 4 – July 11, the week is a chance for all Australians not just First Nations people, to honour and celebrate the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
This year’s theme HEAL COUNTRY! is about seeking greater protections for our lands, waters, sacred sites, languages, and cultural heritages that have for too long suffered from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.
While many NAIDOC events have been postponed or cancelled due to a recent wave of lockdowns amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are still a number of ways to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievements while ensuring the most vulnerable in our community are protected.
Some recommendations include – learning more about the Country on which you live and work, checking out Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creators music, podcasts, and art, read a book, written and published by Indigenous authors and illustrators, support local Indigenous businesses, research Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history or start some family history research of your own, and reflect on what Heal Country means to you.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar took to Twitter recently to wish everyone a happy NAIDOC Week and praised the strength and resilience of First Nations people particularly over the past year.
The proud Bunuba woman said NAIDOC Week “is about celebrating the richness and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples everywhere, our cultures and knowledges that come from across this vast and beautiful continent.”
Regarding this year’s theme, HEAL COUNTRY, Ms Oscar said, “this continent cannot be properly understood without knowing that we stand on the unceded lands of our First Peoples, from the east to the west, the north to the south, and to the islands of the Torres Strait we are many nations.”
“Our Country holds the spirits of our ancestors, our law, our languages since time immemorial. Being on Country gives us a sense of peace, of calmness and safety. Our Country is our life and on Country life is restored to all its nourishing potential,” she said.
“In reclaiming our inherent rights to live and be on our Country, to speak our languages, to practice our Law and Culture, and to determine our futures, Country heals and so do we.”
Commissioner Oscar reminded Mob wherever they may be, to take time out for family, kin, and Country and to celebrate all of who we are.
“Remember, you, and the knowledges you carry, matter and are immensely invaluable to healing and protecting our Country. Yaninyja, and happy NAIDOC Week.”