Do you really know what NAIDOC week is all about?
I personally value this time to think about and celebrate my own accomplishments, and the accomplishments of those in my immediate circle and local community.
I also like this time to reflect on the history and the historical achievements of our First Nations peoples. Like the Wurdi Youang, a 20,000 year old stone formation that accurately measures the summer and winter solstices and the equinox; and Budj Bim which is home to one of the oldest aquaculture systems in the world. Budj Bim eel traps date back 6,000 years and were used for harvesting and to extend the breeding season of eels, where eels were preserved and used for trade for hundreds of kilometers along national trading routes (which now make up many of the highways we have today).
Our First Nations peoples traded with Papua New Guinea, and the Macassans from Sulawesi dating back to the 1700’s.
I think it’s important to acknowledge the historical and the modern achievements to break down the myths and preconceived ideas about First Nations peoples.
What does this year’s theme ‘Heal Country' mean ?
This year’s theme ‘heal country’ is about caring for our land in a sustainable way, using the practices that our First Nations people have been using for over 65,000 years. It is about greater management, involvement, and empowerment by First Nations peoples over country.
It is also about embracing First Nation’s cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia's national heritage. That the culture and values of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders are respected equally to and the cultures and values of all Australians.
But to truly heal Country we have more to do. Our lands will continue to burn from bushfires, droughts will continue to destroy our livelihoods, without using traditional practices that have protected this country for centuries. For generations, our Elders and communities have advocated, marched and fought for substantive institutional, structural and collaborative reform. The aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the culmination of generations of consultation and discussions among our nations on a range of issues and grievances. Healing Country means finally resolving many of the outstanding injustices which impact on the lives of our people. It must be a fair and equitable resolution.
It is important for companies to acknowledge and celebrate NAIDOC Week
NAIDOC Week provides an opportunity for companies to engage with and learn more about First Nations peoples, culture and history.
Engaging with our First Nations people means tapping into a deep knowledge hub and pool of talent. Showing a genuine commitment towards First Nations Australians establishes a mutually respect.
I feel it is most important that companies focus on more than being present at events like NAIDOC Week and National Reconciliation Week, they should focus and commit to real action towards reconciliation and closing the gap between our First Australians and non-Indigenous Australians.
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