Because of her, we can! — NAIDOC to kick off this Sunday

By The Mandarin

July 6, 2018

There is a decidedly positive tone to this year’s NAIDOC preparations.

Celebrations are planned around Australia during the period between Sunday July 8 and Sunday July 15, under this year’s theme ‘Because of Her, We Can!’ — honouring the achievements and influence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women at the community, local, state and national levels.

Organisers say Indigenous women’s role in our cultural, social and political survival has often been invisible, unsung or diminished:

“As leaders, trailblazers, politicians, activists and social change advocates, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women fought and continue to fight, for justice, equal rights, our rights to country, for law and justice, access to education, employment and to maintain and celebrate our culture, language, music and art.”

They seek to honour pioneering women whose achievements, voice, unwavering passion give strength and have empowered past generations and paved the way for generations to come. These women include Barangaroo, Truganini, Gladys Elphick, Fannie Cochrane-Smith, Evelyn Scott, Pearl Gibbs, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Celuia Mapo Salee, Thancoupie, Justine Saunders, Gladys Nicholls, Flo Kennedy, Essie Coffey, Isabel Coe, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Eleanor Harding, Mum Shirl, Ellie Gaffney and Gladys Tybingoompa.

Their successors — trailblazers of their own — include Joyce Clague, Yalmay Yunupingu, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Nova Peris, Carol Martin, Elizabeth Morgan, Barbara Shaw, Rose Richards, Vonda Malone, Margaret Valadian, Lowitja O’Donoghue, June Oscar, Pat O’Shane, Pat Anderson Jill Milroy, Banduk Marika, Linda Burney and Rosalie Kunoth-Monks.

READ MORE: Jackie Huggins is proud to be a leader and a role model

More will be honoured this year. The national awards ceremony will to take place this Friday held on Gadigal land in Darling Harbour, Sydney — coinciding with 80th Anniversary of the Day of Mourning which was held in Sydney back in 1938.

Cheryl Moggs’s artwork will feature around Australia

The top image — ‘tarmunggie-woman’ by Cheryl Moggs, a descendant of the Bigambul people of Goondiwindi, Bungunya and Toobeah regions in South West Queensland — won this year’s NAIDOC poster competition for portraying the courage and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

The painting has three sections with image overlays depicting stories. More information about these stories and the artist is avaiable on the NAIDOC website.

What’s on in Canberra?

The national event is now marked by inclusiveness and localisation. While Sydney has been chosen as the “focus city” and will host the big NAIDOC Awards night next Friday at the Darling Harbour convention centre, the soul of NAIDOC Week is the many small events that take place in towns and cities around the country.

There’s fun and games, expressions of art and culture, as well as solemn and reflective moments, helped along by a combined $1.4 million in federal government grants.

For Canberra public servants, there’s a touch-football tournament outside the Mint on Wednesday, with teams from 29 federal agencies and one representing the ACT government. The comprehensive rule book encourages teams to field as many Indigenous players as possible and warns that ring-ins won’t be tolerated; public service ID cards will be checked.

This is just one of hundreds of NAIDOC Week events, listed by location on the website.

READ MORE: June Oscar ensuring Indigenous women’s voices are again heard by government


Director-general appointment leads to PM advisor shakeup

This week also saw the resignation of Professor Chris Sarra as co-chair of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council.

Sarra had recently been appointed as director-general of the Queensland government’s Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.

In his place, Roy Ah-See has been appointed as the new council co-chair, joining existing co-chair Andrea Mason. Ah-See is also chair of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council.

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