14 July, 2021
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following article may contain images of deceased persons.
Local NAIDOC Week events for 2021 have been postponed until September due to COVID-19 restrictions. This is the third year in a row that activities have been disrupted, with an aggressive dust storm in 2019 then the Coronavirus pandemic over the past two years.
This year’s theme – Heal Country! – calls for greater protections for land, water, sacred sites and cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction, according to the NAIDOC website.
NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life.
NAIDOC 2021 invites the nation to embrace First Nations’ cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia's national heritage and equally respect the culture and values of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders as they do the cultures and values of all Australians.
This year’s theme also seeks substantive institutional, structural, and collaborative reform – something generations of Elders and communities have been advocating, marching and fighting for.
It is about hearing and actioning the aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which are the culmination of generations of consultation and discussions among nations on a range of issues and grievances.
The most recent NAIDOC Week celebrations were held in 2018, when the Aboriginal Land Council hosted a community event in which the Elder women of the community played a game of footy against each other.
The theme for 2018 was “because of her, we can!” and the Gilgandra shire celebrated our great women of the community.
Earlier in 2018, recognition for some of these incredible women and men were made official at the Gilgandra NAIDOC gala awards night.
The 2018 celebrations were organised by the local AECG (Aboriginal Education Consultative Committee).
The AECG committee consists of representatives from Barnardos, Gilgandra Youth Services, Gilgandra Public School, NSW Health, Gilgandra High School, Jack Towney Hostel and Gilgandra Preschool.