NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC 2021 - Heal Country, heal our nation

Heal Country calls for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.

Country sustains our lives in every aspect – spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially and culturally.  Country is family, kin, law, lore, ceremony, traditions, and languages.  For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people it has been this way since the dawn of time. 

The relationship between people and their Country is recorded in stories laid down in Country that are the spiritual source of knowledge essential to generations.  Country is alive and intelligent providing everything that its people need.

For generations Elders and communities have advocated, marched and fought for substantive institutional, structural and collaborative reform.  Greater protections have been sought for lands, waters, sacred sites and cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction. 

To Heal Country means embracing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia’s national heritage.

Southern Cross University Indigenous Events Coordinating Committee (SCUIECC) invites you to join us as we celebrate Country.

NAIDOC Panel Discussion Webinar: Heal Country, heal our nation

Recorded webinar, held on Wednesday 14 July, 2021.

Heal Country calls for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.

Join Elders and community members as they share stories of culture and connection to Country; what Country means to them and Aboriginal communities; and how do we look after and heal Country.

Panellists include:  Uncle Des Williams, Aunty Robyne Bancroft, Bruce Pascoe, Michael Jarrett, Leweena Williams

Facilitator: Rod Williams, Gnibi

head and shoulders of man with water and blue sky in background

Rod Williams
Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples, Southern Cross University

Rod is a Bundjalung man (NSW) who has pursued a private sector career that extends across the industrial relations, financial, mining, small business; not for profit and university sectors at both the national and international levels. Holding a Bachelor of Business, a Member of the Australian Institute Company Directors (AIDC), Rod is currently a Lecturer at Gnibi College at Southern Cross University.

Rod established Gongan Consultancy Pty Ltd in 1993 (100% Aboriginal owned), a small specialist consultancy firm that has developed the Gongan Cross Cultural Community and Business Framework that provides a process to developing your individual cultural and corporate fit between the Community, Government and the Private Sector.

man with hat Uncle Des Williams

Uncle Des Williams

Uncle Des Williams is a proud Gumbainggir and Bundjalung man.

He is the Chairperson of the Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council and has been for many years. During this time he has worked and supported initiatives in: Cultural Heritage management/protection with both Tweed and Byron Shire Councils (he has been a Senior Cultural Sites Officer with Tweed Byron LALC on a voluntary basis for many years); influencing planning laws at both local and state government levels with regards to Tweed Shire Council Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan receiving both State and National recognition via Planning Institute Awards, receiving a State Award and National Commendation on behalf of the Tweed Shire Council Aboriginal Advisory Committee; Social Housing and Homelessness; Natural Resource Management both land and sea/waterways; Cultural Fishing rights protection and management; Cultural Immersion; NAIDOC Week Celebrations in both Tweed and Byron Shires; assisting families and individuals in their academic, sporting and career aspirations, homelessness and access to social and other accommodation, mental health, domestic violence, legal support, connection to community and Country; collaborating with various Goori and non-Goori groups/organisations on various projects and initiatives.

Uncle Des was the former ATSIC Commissioner for two terms. He has and continues to be involved as a representative for Aboriginal Health to NC Local Health District, NC Primary Health Network, Bugalwena Health, Bugalwena GP and Bulgarr Ngaru.

Through leadership, experience and cultural knowledge, Uncle Des continues to advocate and support Aboriginal issues affecting his community.

Uncle Des is also a member of Southern Cross University Gnibi Elders Council.

head shoulders of woman Aunty Robyne (Babani) Bancroft

Aunty Robyne (Babani) Bancroft

Aunty Robyne (Babani) is of Bundjalung and Gumbaingerr descent. She grew up in Lionsville which is about 10 kms from Baryulgil. Lionsville is now in Western Bundjalung.

She started primary school at Baryulgil then travelled 60 miles each way to Grafton for high school from Baryulgil (which was 6 hours travel per day).

Aunty Robyne then went nursing in Brisbane before leaving to live in Papua New Guinea before, during and after PNG Independence. Her children went to primary and secondary school in Port Moresby before she returned back to Australia.

After many different Government jobs she went to Canberra to study at the Australian National University graduating in Archaeology and Anthropology.

Aunty Robyne has used her knowledge, her family knowledge and Aboriginal community knowledge to teach children and others about Aboriginal heritage.

Before retiring, Aunty Robyne was a Cultural Heritage Officer for many years with State Forests. Her interest is to provide documentation on the massacres that happened in the middle Clarence River area since colonisation.

Aunty Robyne is also a member of Southern Cross University Gnibi Elders Council.

man with beard and red shirt Bruce Pascoe

Bruce Pascoe

Bruce Pascoe is a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian Man. He is an author and winner of numerous literary awards and most recently honoured as the 2021 Australian Humanist of the Year Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in literature, culture, environmental issues and agriculture, through a First Nations lens. He is a board member of First Languages Australia and Twofold Aboriginal Corporation and was Secretary for Bidwell-Maap Aboriginal Nation.

He published and edited Australian Short Stories magazine1982-1999, winner Australian Literature Award (Shark) 1999, Radio National Short Story 1998, FAW Short Story 2010, Prime Minister’s Award for Literature (Young Adult) 2013, NSW Premier’s Book of the Year, Dark Emu, 2016.

Books include: Night Animals, Fox, Ruby Eyed Coucal, Shark, Ocean, Earth, Bloke, Cape Otway, Convincing Ground, The Little Red Yellow Black Book, Fog a dox and Dark Emu.

His most recent books are: Bloke, published by Penguin in 2009, Chainsaw File, Oxford, 2010, Fog a dox, Magabala, 2012. (2013 PM’s Award, and shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Award and the Deadlies Award). Dark Emu the history of Aboriginal agriculture was published in 2014 and was shortlisted in the Victorian and Queensland Literature awards and won the NSW Premier’s book of the Year, 2016. Sea Horse, young adult novel, Magabala 2015, Mrs Whitlam, YA, 2016. Young Dark Emu published (Magabala) 2020 and won both the CBCA Award and Australian Bookseller’s Award. Loving Country (Hardie Grant) published 2021.

Bruce received Australia Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature in 2018 and Australian Humanist Award 2021.

close up face of man - Michael Jarrett

Michael Jarrett

Michael (Micklo) is a well-known local Gumbaynggirr figure, often providing ‘Welcome To Country’ ceremonies at regional events, as well as leading Indigenous language classes, camps and cultural story-telling.

‘I’m a Gumbaynggirr man from Nambucca Heads, and I was born in Macksville,’ says Michael. ‘My family lived on Bellwood Reserve, where I spent my childhood attending school and growing up with a lot of my relatives. Also, the majority of my adult life was spent on the Reserve.

‘There were old people who spoke Gumbaynggirr language but did not speak it to the children, only certain words. My language was non-existent to me through most of my life until in 1997 I decided to attend Gumbaynggirr language classes at Muurrbay Language Centre. At that time, I was an early childhood teacher, and it was so hard learning my mother’s language. The sounds were unfamiliar to my ears and trying to make the sounds with my mouth was even harder. I practised by myself. I asked the teachers ‘How do I say that?’, ‘What does this mean?’ and taught what I learned to students at pre-school.

‘I heard that a course was coming up in Sydney called Masters in Indigenous Languages Education. I enrolled not knowing what to expect, what I was getting myself into. During the course and finding out about the linguistics of language, Gumbaynggirr started to come alive in me, phonology, syntax, grammar, semantics was like a different language but it made me think of how Gumbaynggirr worked and I loved it.

‘After the course I was very confident about working on my language and using it in everyday situations. It has helped immensely with my work as an educator, giving me new ideas on how to teach. Through it I changed my style of teaching. Work opportunities are still coming at me, Board of Studies, DET, Muurrbay, TAFE, universities and other language organisations. It has opened up many doors in my Gumbaynggirr language journey across all facets of my life, and has given me back my pride as an Aboriginal man. I am passing on my knowledge and skills to other Aboriginal people so they can feel the way I feel—more connected to my language, my homeland, my people, the spirits of my homeland and most of all to my ancestors.'

head and shoulders of woman smiling

Leweena Williams

Leweena Williams is a proud Gumbainggir and Bundjalung woman. Leweena is the CEO of the Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Through Leweena’s employment history with the Tweed Byron LALC from the young age of 17 she has had the opportunity to work in her community. She has initiated and played a role in numerous projects throughout the Tweed and Byron Shires.

She has worked and supported initiatives in: Cultural Heritage management/protection with both Tweed and Byron Shire Councils; Influencing planning laws at both local and state government levels with regards to Tweed Shire Council Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan receiving both State and National recognition via Planning Institute Awards, receiving a State Award and National Commendation on behalf of the Tweed Shire Council Aboriginal Advisory Committee; Social Housing and Homelessness; Natural Resource Management both land and sea/waterways; Cultural Fishing rights protection and management; Cultural Immersion; NAIDOC Week Celebrations in both Tweed and Byron Shires; assisting families and individuals in their academic, sporting and career aspirations, homelessness and access to social and other accommodation, mental health, domestic violence, legal support, connection to community and Country; collaborating with various Goori and non-Goori groups/organisations on various projects and initiatives.

Leweena has also been involved in the Fingal Coast Care and Land Care groups over the years with playing a significant role to revegetate and protect the natural habitat of the Fingal Peninsula. Leweena has and continues to be involved as a representative to Aboriginal Health to NC Local Health District, NC Primary Health Network, Bugalwena Health, Bugalwena GP and Bulgarr Ngaru. Through these roles Leweena has gained vast knowledge and experience and has been and continues to be a very strong advocate and leader for the many issues that impact on the Goori communities Leweena lives and works within.

For more information contact: scuiecc@scu.edu.au or (02) 6620 3959.

See also NAIDOC Week - get involved 

Note: NAIDOC Week official date is 4-11 July - Southern Cross University events run through to 14 July.

(Please note: We are aware that engaging with this subject matter may require personal courage. We are also aware that if the subject matter intersects with a person’s life history in a particular way then an experience of personal discomfort may result.  If this occurs, the important thing to do is to talk to someone. You might have your own sources of support to call on or alternatively contact other health services. SCU offers positive counselling support to both on-campus and on-line students. Counselling support details are available here).

See also Health and Emergency Services Contacts.


Discovery Wall - Lismore and Gold Coast Campus Libraries

The Discovery Wall showcases NAIDOC’s history with a collage of posters and themes over the years celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ achievements, culture, histories and stories.

NAIDOC Library Display - Coffs Harbour Campus Library

A NAIDOC collection of winning posters and themes along with a selection of books/resources from well known Indigenous authors will be on display.

Many of Bruce Pascoe's books are available via the University Library.

 

NAIDOC Week 2021

Date and time

From: 09:00 AM Sunday, July 4, 2021 To: 12:00 PM Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Location