NAIDOC Week celebrates Elders

Over generations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders have played a significant role in bringing Australia to the point where a referendum will soon ask citizens to alter the Constitution to ensure an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament. 

They have marched the streets and gifted Australians with the Uluru Statement of the Heart to build a better future. 

This year, NAIDOC Week (2-9 July) pays homage to their tenacity and strength with the theme “For Our Elders”. 

“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,” state speakers on the NAIDOC Week video announcing the theme

“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.” 

Federation’s relieving Aboriginal Education Coordinator Melissa Harding said: “Elders play a crucial role in guiding present generations by sharing their knowledge and drawing from the past. Their knowledge and guidance are instrumental in helping to break through barriers and fostering new opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

“The wisdom of our Elders is a source of strength for us. We need to listen with open hearts and carefully apply that wisdom in everything that we do. Their past struggles and stories of activism have helped pave the way for us, and future generations, to move forward and effect change.  

“We have a great opportunity to move our country forward this year by writing ‘yes’.” 

Federation is an advocate of the Yes campaign for the Voice to Parliament referendum. Learn more here