The National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week is about to kick off, with celebrations of Indigenous culture and Blak excellence happening from July 2 - 9.
This significant week always rolls around on the first and second Sunday of July, offering an opportunity to learn more about First Nations culture - one of the oldest cultures ever to exist.
Each year, NAIDOC Week has a unique theme that aims to delve into the issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, while educating non-Indigenous Australians.
This year’s theme is ‘For Our Elders’.
Across every generation, Elders play and continue to play an integral part in our communities and families - whether it’s cooking us a big feed, offering a shoulder to cry on or simply pulling us swiftly into line.
So in the words of the great philosopher Lizzo, ‘it’s about goddamn time’ We pay our respect to these trailblazers who fought so hard to pave the way so we have a future.
The National NAIDOC Committee co-chair, Dr Lynette Riley, a proud Wiradjuri and Gamilaroi woman from NSW, said the theme reflects the critical role of the kinship structures in First Nations cultures.
"It still drives everything that we do. Our Elders are our driving force, culturally and socially and economically. They are everything," she said.
Dr Riley said that the Elders in her community had been a guiding light about how to better the relationship with Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
"Everything has been about what my Elders want me to do to create change to make Australia a better place - not just for my kids but for everybody elses' kids," she said.
And as such, this week is all about celebrating those who have come before us andlearning more about local Indigenous communities.
As well as cultural events happening all around the country, including art festivals, fashion runways, sporting events, music gigs, and lectures, NAIDOC week has also awarded innovators who exemplify Blak excellence.
From a pool of 200 nominees, NAIDOC has selected 10 incredible winners for their life-changing contributions.
So, clear the calendar and think about how you can pay respect to your elders and First Nations Elders ahead of the Flag Rising Ceremony, which begins Sunday.
Also, be sure to head to their website to find out what events and celebrations are happening in your town!