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.