National NAIDOC Week runs from 2 – 9 July 2023 to celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
This year's theme, For Our Elders, presents an opportunity for all Australians to learn about First Nations cultures and histories and participate in celebrations of the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth.
To mark this event, Tananger Peet, an Aboriginal Working on Country Ranger at Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, shared the significance of NAIDOC Week and what it means to her.
“NAIDOC Week for me means a time for celebration, a time to celebrate our mob and their achievements, and to remember, appreciate and celebrate what our Elders and Old Fullas have done so we can stand where we are today.
“It's also a time for us to come together to do this, being around each other re-energizes us and strengthens us, reminds us of who we are fighting with, it pushes us to keep going. NAIDOC Week is also a time that our voices are amplified, people stop to listen to our voices for this week, this should be done every day of the year but unfortunately its squished into a week.
“At this time, we are able to present and talk about where we are currently as a whole mob and what we are either fighting for or what we are celebrating, if you look at all the past NAIDOC themes, they all have a strong and powerful message, all of Australia read this and sees this, and that is really important they do.
“For NAIDOC week this year I'm going to the East Coast by myself for a couple of days to spend time with Country and the Old Fullas. This is a time where I can re-energize and centre myself with Country and Culture. I will also be spending time with my Community for the street march, the NAIDOC Ball and for a Flinders Island trip with mob too, so I'm going to be very busy this week! I love going to the NAIDOC Ball and having laughs and yarns with mob, catching up with them and them telling me what they've been up to. I'm very excited.
“I love this year's theme, For Our Elders, so much. As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples our Elders are our guardians, our teachers, the ones we go to for advice, the ones we make a cuppa for any time of the day, even when they don't know they wanted it, they are the heart of our Community.
“It was so important to have this as a theme, to pay respects to our Elders, our Old fullas, to reflect on how lucky we are to have them around and for what they have done for us to be where we are today.
“This theme also brings up and voices to all Elders that we will continue fighting, teaching and follow their legacy as they did with their Elders to ensure the best possible outcome for our mob, Country, and Culture.
“I hope that the Elders I know and cherish and all Elders accept this theme as recognition of their hard work, their words, their guidance, their teachings, I hope all Elders know how cherished and appreciated they are, and that we respect, appreciate and love them with every fibre of our being."
More information on NAIDOC Week: https://www.naidoc.org.au/