What does NAIDOC Week mean to you?

What does NAIDOC Week mean to you?

Aboriginal colleagues and consumers at Forensicare share their reflections.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have the oldest living and continuous cultures in the world. This years theme “Always Was, Always Will Be” recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. They were Australia’s first explorers, farmers, engineers, educators and artists and continue to contribute to all areas of our community.

NAIDOC (National Aboriginal Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week is held to celebrate First Nations histories, cultures, knowledge systems and achievements. It is a fantastic opportunity to connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues and consumers and learn about their cultures.

Here Aboriginal colleagues and consumers at Forensicare share their reflections on what NAIDOC means to them.

What does NAIDOC mean to you?

“NAIDOC Week has such a special place in my heart. My fondest memory is going with my family to the NAIDOC Marches, marching for the rights of Aboriginal people, my week would be booked, attempting to attend every event I could.

NAIDOC Week for me is a time for all people to come together and celebrate the rich Aboriginal culture. It gives everyone the opportunity to learn something that they might not have known before, it provides the setting to have a conversation that you might not have normally had.

It is these conversations that I as an Aboriginal person appreciate. Nothing makes me happier than sharing with people where my mob is from or how my Grandfather represented Aboriginal people in communist Germany as the Berlin wall went up.

So this NAIDOC Week, reach out to an Indigenous person you may know, have a chat that you might not have normally had. Show them that you are an ally of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, that’s what NAIDOC Week is all about.”

What does NAIDOC mean to you?

“I haven’t really learnt about my culture growing up so haven’t celebrated NAIDOC. I had my first smoking ceremony last week which made me feel connected to the ancestors …. I am excited to keep learning about my culture whilst at the hospital” –  Thomas Embling Hospital Consumer

“We have had heaps of events here for NAIDOC. Last year was the best, they had crocodile burgers and kangaroo meat. There was also a dance group which was awesome! NAIDOC to me is coming together to celebrate Aboriginal people and share it with everyone else.” – Thomas Embling Hospital Consumer

“I am a Wurundjeri man and I have a very old culture. It goes all the way back to the beginning of time. It is all about dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s, in other words, it’s all about the dots. I have found my journey through spiritual life very comfortable but sometimes I have been very scared and agitated because we go off the dot. By going off the dot sometimes I lose culture, but I remember my ancestors and all the family that has lived before me and with me through our journey of life. Don’t be scared because ancestors and culture will always be with you.” – Thomas Embling Hospital Consumer

What does NAIDOC mean to you?

“NAIDOC to me is reconnecting with family, eating good food, laughing with friends, chanting in the streets of Melbourne, embracing loved ones, sharing stories and healing together.”

Best NAIDOC memory?

“I couldn’t pinpoint an exact memory that was better than the rest, but I will say my best NAIDOC memories are ones from my younger years. Growing up, I attended schools where myself and my older brother were 2 of maybe 3 or 4 identified Aboriginal students in the entire school. We both experienced racism and discrimination during this time, and often felt quite isolated, so when we attended NAIDOC events I remember feeling a sense of relief and belonging to see hundreds of other Aboriginal children just like me.”

What does NAIDOC mean to you?

“NAIDOC means connecting with my people and connecting back to my cultural identify” – RCC Consumer

“It’s a fun time to be with my brothers” –  RCC Consumer

“I think for our people, an ongoing issue we face is feeling like we don’t belong on our own land – for me, this week reiterates my ongoing connection to the land and re-enforces the strength I need to continue to fight our injustices so we can see a better future for our upcoming leaders and our children” – RCC Consumer

“I enjoy doing the activities and eating the traditional tucker” – RCC Consumer

For more information visit NAIDOC.org.au

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