NAIDOC 2021 Poster

This week in Australia we are celebrating NAIDOC with the theme ‘Heal Country’ – This theme calls for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.

Being a Maori woman in Australia, it has been extremely important to me that I learn about the Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their traditions, and how I can support and engage with the indigenous people of this beautiful country. Coming from New Zealand, I am used to being immersed in tikanga Maori in everyday life – even just a simple ‘kia ora’ in an email is an acknowledgement of the importance of cultural inclusion in our day-to-day lives. In Australia I have not found such immersion to be commonplace and I am determined to acknowledge and include indigenous cultural practices in my work and family life as much as I am able.

This year I am so grateful to be in Melbourne during NAIDOC week. While much of the country is locked down with COVID-19, I have been able to embrace the opportunity to get out and learn about the culture and the fight of the indigenous people of Australia.

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Here are a few ways that I learned more about the indigenous peoples of Australia for NAIDOC week

  • I visited the NAIDOC website and selected a few items from the Top 20 tips to get involved this NAIDOC.
  • I have discussed NAIDOC and cultural education with every professional I have met this (and last) week.
  • I have also discussed NAIDOC and provided some cultural education with my daughter.
  • Michelle and I went to Koorie Heritage Trust seeking cultural training and saw some incredible works of art/read about some incredible artists.
  • I have made a point to learn how to do an acknowledgement of country properly.

I acknowledge that I still have a long way to go and that learning never ends. My next goal is to learn how to pronounce tribal and place names correctly – something that I believe is critical to show respect and acknowledgement of the importance of indigenous culture.

What activities have you done this NAIDOC week?

Exess and our team respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation and pays respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

#NAIDOC2021 #NAIDOCWeek #HealCountry

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