Kacey Teerman (she/her) is a Gomeroi woman and a Indigenous Rights Campaigner for Amnesty International Australia.
National NAIDOC Week has grown to be both a commemoration of the first Day of Mourning, and a celebration of the history, culture and excellence of First Nations people. This year it runs from 2 to 9 July.
As we honour the theme of “For Our Elders” for NAIDOC Week 2023, I wanted to share with you how profoundly important it is to me to have the ongoing guidance and wisdom of my Elders.
I am reminded of how privileged I am to work alongside Uncle Rodney Dillon – Elder of the Palawa Nation, legend, 2005 NAIDOC Person of the year, and lifelong advocate for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
I am reminded of all Aboriginal Elders, past and present, whose activism and dedication has paved the way for progress. I am eternally grateful for their contributions, and acknowledge that without them – I wouldn’t be here today.
Here are 3 things you can do this NAIDOC Week:
1. Commit to practicing genuine allyship
Being a genuine ally involves a lot of self-reflection, education and listening. It means knowing you’re often coming into a space from a position of power and privilege. Genuine allyship is important in any fight against injustice, but it’s crucial to understand how your presence impacts the people and communities that you want to support.
“I think that non-Indigenous peoples’ support and influence can be really, really important to make change. The people who put the wall up, I can understand why it’s there, but the people who pull it down – they’re the ones we need.”Uncle Rodney Dillon, Indigenous Rights Advisor at Amnesty International Australia
When working with Indigenous communities and advocating for Indigenous rights, there isn’t one way to be an ally – because every community and individual is different. However, our ally resource has some great suggestions if you don’t know where to start.
2. Further your learning by listening to Indigenous voices
Consume and enjoy the wide range of Indigenous-led content available to you this week. NITV has an incredible line-up of programs this year.
“In a year when putting First Nations voices front and centre is so important, we are inviting all Australians to come and watch, listen, learn and be inspired.”Tanya Denning-Orman, Birri and Guugu Yimidhirr woman and Director of Indigenous Content at SBS
Equally as important is engaging with issues that directly impact Aboriginal people, by listening to the experts — Aboriginal people themselves.
With the referendum just a few months away, the best thing you can do is listen to how First Nations people right across the country feel about the Voice to Parliament. It is First Nations people who will be impacted the most by the referendum, and the debate around it. These feelings are complex and diverse, so remain self aware and compassionate through your learning.
3. Attend a local event in your area
Plenty of events will be taking place nationwide. By participating, you can learn from and engage with Indigenous Elders, listen to their stories, and reflect on their challenges and resilience. Attending a local NAIDOC Week event, workshop, or gathering is a commitment to human rights, social justice, and intergenerational equity.
You can find the local events happening in your area here.
Together, let’s honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders by recognizing and celebrating their wisdom, knowledge, and contributions.
Happy NAIDOC Week!
As part of Amnesty International Australia’s 2025 Vision, we are committed to working with First Nations communities, partners and allies to secure First Nations justice and end the over-representation of young people in prisons within a generation. Learn more about our First Nations Justice campaign.