Here we are halfway through the year and despite COVID still affecting many communities across the country, there’s been a lot to be grateful for.

Another NAIDOC Week has come and gone and although it will be awhile until we get back to celebrating the way we used to, this year’s theme provided us all with the opportunity to think about the part that we can all play in “Healing Country”. 

Healing Country

We acknowledge how important country is to us all and regardless of whether you are an Aboriginal,  Torres Strait Islander or not, Country is something that we should all honour and respect.  It sustains every aspect of our lives, spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially and culturally.  For Australia’s Indigenous people Country is family; it’s our kin, our lore / law, our traditions.  And on Country we gather, we celebrate and we heal. In 2021 the National NAIDOC Committee respectfully said, “Healing County is more than changing a word in our national anthem – it is about the historical, political and administrative landscapes adapting to successfully empower and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, nations and heritage.  We cannot afford to let pass the very real opportunity that now presents itself for reform based on a fundamental change in the relations Australia has with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

A brilliant end to the Week

NAIDOC Week 2021 ended with many like me watching Ashleigh Barty become the third Australian woman in history to win the Wimbledon Ladies Singles title.  Ash was the second Aboriginal woman to win the title, fifty years since Evonne Goolagong-Cawley took the top prize.  I’m sure that you would all agree that Ash makes us proud.  She displays authentic leadership, honouring her team, her family and most importantly her mentor Evonne.  Let us all be celebrate her achievements as I am sure there will be many more celebrations ahead.

First Nations athletes take on the Olympics

With the Tokyo Olympics kicking off on 23 July, we will see sixteen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes competing across 11 sports.  It’s exciting to watch many of them compete especially Stacey Porter and Tarni Stepto in softball, Angie Blackburn making her Olympic debut on the track, Taliqua Clancy in beach volleyball and of course Patty Mills who is competing in his fourth Olympics leading the Men’s Basketball team.  But I am certainly looking forward to watching him leading the Australian team into the Stadium carrying the flag. It seems bizarre to think of the many years that we have had First Nations Athletes in the Australian Team that it’s taken until 2021 to have one of them as an Opening Ceremony flag bearer.  Let’s all get behind all our Olympians as they compete for not only our country but for their families and community.

Chase your dreams

There have been many dreams come true this past month.  But if you ever doubt your ability to achieve your dreams I think Ash says it best.

 “It doesn’t matter what shape, what size you come in – chase your dreams and show the world what you can do”. Ashleigh Barty

Robyn Forester