For Our Elders is the theme for National NAIDOC Week in 2023, but what does it mean and why is it important?
NAIDOC Week is National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee and it takes place in July every year to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In 2023, it ran from 2-9 July.
Each year it has a theme for us to focus on and this year’s really spoke to us here at Carers’ Circle because it was so closely related to the work we do here – for our elders.
Why focus on our elders?
The NAIDOC website explains it best:
“Across every generation, our Elders have played, and continue to play, an important role and hold a prominent place in our communities and families.
They are cultural knowledge holders, trailblazers, nurturers, advocates, teachers, survivors, leaders, hard workers and our loved ones.
Our loved ones who pick us up in our low moments and celebrate us in our high ones. Who cook us a feed to comfort us and pull us into line, when we need them too.
They guide our generations and pave the way for us to take the paths we can take today. Guidance, not only through generations of advocacy and activism, but in everyday life and how to place ourselves in the world.
We draw strength from their knowledge and experience, in everything from land management, cultural knowledge to justice and human rights. Across multiple sectors like health, education, the arts, politics and everything in between, they have set the many courses we follow.
The struggles of our Elders help to move us forward today. The equality we continue to fight for is found in their fight. Their tenacity and strength has carried the survival of our people.
It is their influence and through their learnings that we must ensure that when it comes to future decision making for our people, there is nothing about us – without us.
We pay our respects to the Elders we’ve lost and to those who continue fighting for us across all our Nations and we pay homage to them.”
Here at Carers’ Circle we find this as a source of education – to continuously learn about Indigenous culture which is the longest surviving culture in the world, but also as inspiration – to see how we think about the role our elders play in non-Indigenous communities.
Ways you can learn more about Indigenous culture
The NAIDOC week committee has some great ideas about how you can learn more about Indigenous culture, not just this week, but throughout the year.
- Find out whose Country you are on at AIATSIS Map of Indigenous Australia
- Engage with local Traditional Owners and your local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Community
- Download the National NAIDOC Week Educational Resources which were produced in partnership by the National NAIDOC Committee, the National Indigenous Australians Agency, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
- Read a book by a First Nations author. One we’re reading at the moment is the The Voice to Parliament Handbook: All the detail you need – by Thomas Mayo and Kerry O’Brien
- Listen to podcasts or music by First Nations artist and creatives
- Watch a television show or movie made by a First Nations filmmaker. NITV is a great place to start – https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv
- Make a purchase from a Blak business – make sure profits go to First Nations makers
- Follow First Nations social media accounts and share their content.
See how Simon Narrier, a Noongar man talks about Elders
Watch Mark Nannup, a Noongar / Yamatji man, interviewing his grandfather, Simon Narrier, a Noongar man. Simon talks about his relationship with his Elders, and the role of being an Elder himself on the Education page – NAIDOC Week 2023: For Our Elders — Education Resources – ABC Education
(Scroll down to the section that says My Pop, Simon Narrier).
We acknowledge the Cammeraygal people of the Eora Nation as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which this website is created, and we extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. This land always was and will always be Aboriginal land. We are proud to live in a country with the world’s oldest living culture and it’s the respect that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have for their elders, that we honour and strive to emulate at Carers’ Circle. As an inclusive organisation we also celebrate people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, cultures, bodies and abilities.
The main image of this article is ‘The 2023 National NAIDOC Week Poster incorporating the Aboriginal Flag and the Torres Strait Islander Flag (licensed by the Torres Strait Island Council).’ It is reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-N4 4.0). We would like to acknowledge the fantastic work of artist Bobbi Lockyer a proud Ngarluma, Kariyarra, Nyulnyul and Yawuru artist, in creating this year’s poster.
The image of Simon Narrier and Mark Nannup is used to direct people to the ABC educational website. The NAIDOC Week 2023 Educational resources were produced in partnership by the National NAIDOC Committee, the National Indigenous Australians Agency, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. These resources were created with the permissions of the Elders and/or their families included in the resources, with the cultural guidance of the National NAIDOC Committee Co-Chair and Elder Aunty Dr Lynette Riley AO. Written by Culture is Life’s Aboriginal educators and lead writer Thara Brown, in partnership with the ABC and with young people’s perspectives and ideas at the centre. Designed by Sofii McKenzie-Kirkbright.