UOW celebrates NAIDOC Week

UOW community members reflect on their journeys and highlight the importance of NAIDOC Week

The University of Wollongong (UOW) is acknowledging NAIDOC Week (4 -11 July). NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.

This year’s NAIDOC theme is ‘Heal Country’ which calls for everyone to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.

UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Patricia M. Davidson said NAIDOC week is a reminder of our country’s past and an occasion to celebrate the culture, traditions and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“NAIDOC week is a time for further deepening our ties with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, while reflecting as a country on how far we still have to go. It’s also a wonderful chance to celebrate the exceptional achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Professor Davidson said.

UOW’s Executive Director (Indigenous Strategy) Jaymee Beveridge highlighted the importance of this year’s theme and said Heal Country summons non Indigenous Australia to unlearn and relearn the notion of Country from an Indigenous perspective.

“Reflecting and acknowledging the imposed devastation, damage and trauma to our lands, waters, air, animals and peoples, Heal Country is a call for everyone to stop, grieve and action work towards not repeating the damages of engagements,” Ms Beveridge said.

Yuin man and UOW Academic Developer – Indigenous Knowledges, Jade Kennedy, was selected to present at the Federal Government’s ‘Future Drought Fund’ Science to Practice Forum 2021, organised by the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment.

The forum was held online on Wednesday, 30th June 2021. Mr Kennedy spoke about UOW’s Jindaola program, an educational development grants program facilitated by a local Traditional Knowledge Holder and established in consultation with local Aboriginal community engages participants in an Aboriginal way towards Curriculum Reconciliation.

“To heal Country is to heal self. Our Country is crying out to us to heal ourselves; the fires and floods are the pain and tears we hold within, and it is now time that we reconcile within so that Country can reconcile without.

When one then finds ways of healing self on and with Country we develop connectedness and deep relationship that moves beyond time, and we become embedding within the stories of a place -this is the way of the Dreaming,” Mr Kennedy said.

The national event is celebrated by Australians from all walks of life, celebrating the immense contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The University cancelled all in-person campus events due to the COVID-19 health orders by the NSW Government.

Here are top 20 ideas to help you celebrate NAIDOC Week 2021 in a COVID-safe way:

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By Yogesh Bhatia

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