With NAIDOC not too far away, this event presents a unique opportunity to honour and appreciate the diverse cultures, histories, and achievements of Aboriginal people within Australia and abroad. The theme for NAIDOC 2023, "For Our Elders," reminds us to pay homage to the profound wisdom, knowledge, and contributions of our esteemed elders. In this article, let us explore the significance of this year's theme and how we can actively engage with our communities during NAIDOC.
The theme "For Our Elders" serves as a powerful reminder to recognise and honour the invaluable role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders play within our communities. Our Elders are the living repositories of traditions, culture, and history, passing down their knowledge to younger generations. Their wisdom and guidance are crucial for maintaining cultural continuity, fostering community resilience, and preserving Indigenous heritage. By celebrating our Elders during NAIDOC and throughout the year, we ensure their voices are heard and their contributions acknowledged.
Engaging with the Community during NAIDOC is a pivotal step we all should be doing to ensure we are doing our part. Check out some simple steps you can take throughout NAIDOC this year
1. Seek out local community NAIDOC events such as the NAIDOC at NCIE Community Day | NAIDOC. A great way to immerse yourself into the local Sydney community and join in on the day of celebrations through engaging cultural activities, markets and bush food stalls. Not local to Sydney? Check out what is on in your local area here; Local NAIDOC Week events | NAIDOC
2. Spend an evening with Indigrow, a local nursey delivering an informative session on bush tucker. Join Peter Cooley, CEO of IndigiGrow, to learn about local Aboriginal culture, connection to country and caring for country through endangered native plants & bush foods Register your interest here; IndigiGrow: Culture & Connection to Country
3. Take the opportunity to learn more about the diverse cultures and histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Elders. Engage in reading books, watching documentaries, and exploring online resources to deepen your understanding and appreciation. Check out our resource packs and free downloadables.
4. Another great local community event is the Penrith twilight community event. The event highlights the importance of our Elders' knowledge through yarns by the fire, market stalls selling their art, food and other items made by them. This is a great way for anyone looking for opportunities to build relationships with local community members, support local businesses, engage in culturally appropriate activities & enjoy some good bush tucker! You can find more details here; PENRITH NAIDOC 2023
5. Forster Regional Aboriginal Surf Competition is another great event for any folks on the mid coast. This is a great event to check out and show your support for up-and-coming Aboriginal surfers within the community. A great laid back approach for NAIDOC, if you’re looking for some sunshine, culture and a yarn or two with some local elders and community members. Definitely my top pick for NAIDCO 2023!
Event Details: 4th July @ One Mile Beach, Forster/Tuncurry.
To understand what this years theme means to other Aboriginal people, we asked some of our own staff on their thoughts of what “for Our Elders” means to them:
“It’s about acknowledging the path they’ve forged for us and future generations. It’s about their perseverance, strength, and dedication to the fight for equality for our people. They’re the leaders and the ones who have taught us to be proud of who we are and where we come from, something we’ll forever be grateful for”
“This year’s theme really connects with me and my community on Worimi country. All Elders are sacred as they are our knowledge holders of who we are and where we come from; being the stories they share with us, the first-hand experiences they have had, the strong knowledge of our lake system coastline and lands. Our Elders are the ones who have shaped us into a strong Aboriginal generation and to keep continuing being proud Aboriginal men and women”
The question to ask yourself is how do you connect with Aboriginal Elders in your life? What parts of society have been built on the wisdom and knowledge of our Elders that you use in your everyday personal or work life?
- You’ll find many household items, some of your favourite food and beverages, along with many established fine dining restaurants are now using our unique native ingredients and flavours.
- The sustainable practices for managing land and water in Australia that have been used for the last 60,000 years, which are only now being adopted into Western approaches…slowly
- The ability to connect people of all backgrounds with our country; through our taste, smell, sight, touch or hearing – from what time of the year to go out catching mullet, how the stars in the sky can guide us across land, to how to catch pippies at the beach the quicker and easier way
None of these things would be possible unless our Elders passed on this knowledge and continue doing so, for many it has been a significant sacrifice to help our next generations get to where they are today.
By actively engaging with our communities during NAIDOC and throughout the year, we can nurture a deeper understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal culture. It is essential to reflect on how we can celebrate and support Indigenous communities beyond NAIDOC Week, fostering a year-round commitment to inclusivity, respect, and cultural recognition.
As NAIDOC 2023 approaches, embrace the theme "For Our Elders" and celebrate the profound wisdom and contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders.
So, what are you doing to support our Elders from this year onwards?