During NAIDOC week let us acknowledge and pay respect to our Elders and celebrate the 65,000 years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, stories and achievements.
Elders are the heart and soul of our communities, passing down Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions and knowledge from generation to generation using cultural activities such as storytelling, ceremonies and traditional crafts. This is more than a process of teaching and learning, as Aboriginal knowledge and cultural practices are tightly woven into the landscape and history of the people and form an essential part of shaping community identity.
At LEAD’s 2023 conference, ‘Hand-in-hand: Make it happen… Make it Matter’, a highlight was the ‘Yarning with Elders’ session where Uncle Colin Locke, Aunty Marie Clegg and Erin Wilkins shared stories about their life-journey, what Reconciliation means to them and what actions for reconciliation they would like to see from Community Sector practitioners. Their advice was to avoid tokenistic gestures, we all need to walk together on the path towards Reconciliation emphasising that non-indigenous people share the ‘cultural load’ that most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees currently carry in organisations.
Let’s honour the Elders who have paved the way for us this NAIDOC Week.
Artwork by Chris Tobin, commissioned by LEAD to create an original piece of art that reflects who we are and what we do. Titled “Many Countries, One Water”, the artwork represents the diversity and the connectedness across the communities in which we work. Reproduced with permission and gratitude.
LEAD acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we gather and work on, and the land that you are on while visiting our website. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging, for they hold the memories, the traditions, the cultures and hopes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the nation. A better understanding and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures develops an enriched appreciation for Australia’s cultural heritage and can lead to reconciliation. This is essential to the maturity of Australia as a nation and fundamental to the development of an Australian identity. Understanding and respect are guiding principles of LEAD’s Reconciliation Action Plan.