National NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia in the first week of July each year, to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth.
A Note About Elders.
Elders are highly respected Aboriginal people held in esteem for their wisdom, cultural knowledge and community service. Age alone does not determine whether someone is recognised as an Elder; they have gained recognition as a custodian of knowledge and lore. Aboriginal people refer to an Elder as ‘Aunty’ or ‘Uncle’, however not all who are addressed as ‘Aunty’ or ‘Uncle’ are an Elder.
Elders are critical in creating a healthy Aboriginal community. They will commonly guard, promote, and sustain customs and principles, such as respect and reverence for the earth. They also take responsibility for teaching, leadership, governance, resolving conflict, overseeing spiritual practice and ceremony, and sharing story, song and dance.
Elders are vital to Australia as a whole.
They protect and promote the traditions of the First Nations people and can pass on this knowledge and spirituality to everyone, while educating non-Indigenous people about the country’s deep-rooted culture.
With a broken age care system in many parts of Australia, one might say that shifting our perspectives and holding a higher amount of respect for elders is essential to the whole of Australia. And what a beautiful way to learn – from a culture where eldership is held in such high esteem.
NAIDOC: Discover something new.
From spirituality and philosophy, to eldership, cultural ceremonies, and storytelling – there is so much to learn from Aboriginal culture. This NAIDOC week, I encourage you to open your minds and learn something new about this rich culture, by browsing through the following resources.
✨ A beautiful book to learn about Aboriginal spirality, which is full of ancient wisdom and practical tips: The Dreaming Path by Paul Callaghan and Uncle Paul Gordon.
✨ ‘Respect your elders’, it’s a phrase that carries, perhaps, the most significant weight in First Nations culture, where Elders are recognised as survivors, cultural knowledge holders and advocates for their community. Kamilaroi and Tongan singer Radical Son is paying tribute to their legacy with his new single.
✨ SBS is celebrating National NAIDOC Week 2023 across the network with this huge programming line-up to celebrate the history, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
WHFS NAIDOC Celebrations:
We are celebrating with two exciting, internal events at WHFS for employees: starting with a Smoking Ceremony with an Aboriginal Elder. Smoking ceremonies have been performed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for thousands of years to cleanse people and places of bad spirits.
During the week, we are hosting a special NAIDOC lunch for staff; with Kangaroo stew, damper, bush tucker jams and condiments, scones and more! Along with a special display and activities.
Our ‘Yorga’s Own Time’ group, which is held each Tuesday, is a group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to explore health and wellbeing. For NAIDOC week, they created this beautiful painting, featured below!