It’s NAIDOC Week, and while we should always be striving to support Australia’s First Nations communities, as well as continuously educate and inform ourselves, the annual event brings crucial attention, focus and celebration to Indigenous culture, history and achievements. This year’s theme, “Heal Country, heal our nation”, sees the week focus on the concept of “Country”, with NAIDOC describing: “Country is inherent to our identity. It sustains our lives in every aspect—spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, and culturally. It is more than a place.”
This week brings with it plenty of events, both in-person and virtual, which you can view here, but if you’re looking for ways you can continuously show support beyond NAIDOC Week, read on for a list of the First Nation organisations across Australia.
ANTaR is a national advocacy organisation dedicated specifically to the rights—and overcoming the disadvantage—of First Nations and Torres Strait Islander people through lobbying, public campaigns and advocacy. The focus remains on changing attitudes and behaviours of non-Indigenous Australians so that the rights and cultures of First Nations and Torres Strait Islander people are respected and affirmed across all sections of society.
The National Justice Project
The National Justice Project advocates for the development of the law and justice system that is fair, just and equitable. It takes on the most challenging cases that tackle systematic injustices and racism within government institutions. It also provides legal support to people who would otherwise not have access.
The Northern Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA)
The NAAJA offers competent legal services to Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, ensuring that everyone has real access to justice.
Sisters Inside believe that no person is better than another, but that environment and life circumstances play a major role. First Nations women and girls are massively over-represented in prison due to the racism at the foundation of systems of social control, and the organisation works alongside incarcerated women, advocating for them with governments and the legal system to achieve fairer outcomes.
“We will continue to free Aboriginal women from imprisonment by using all the money you donate to pay their warrants so that women are not locked up for poverty,” Kilroy says.
Happy Boxes Project
Emma Sullings spent five years working, living and learning in remote communities in the Northern Territory as a teacher, where she realised first-hand how difficult it was to access basic needs such as food and toiletries. So, she founded Happy Boxes (although she prefers to say the project ‘found her’) as a means to bring joy to those remote communities.
To get involved, simply donate and you will be responsible for helping communities and supporting disadvantaged youth and women’s refugee centres. Each box gets filled with different needs, some with soaps and deodorants, other with face masks and body scrubs. Some have accessories and clothes and some are simply sanitary items.
Led by the inspiring Antoinette Braybrook, Djirra is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation focused on preventing and addressing family violence. The Melbourne-based organisation provides legal and non-legal support to First Nations and Torres Strait Islander people who experience family violence— predominantly women. They also run important intervention programs like Young Luv teaching girls about healthy relationships and Dilly Bag, a cultural workshop to promote healing. “Djirra is the Woiwurrung word for the reed used by Wurundjeri women for basket weaving. Traditionally, when women gathered to weave, important talks took place and problems were solved. Djirra symbolises Aboriginal women today, still coming together to share stories, support each other and find solutions,” explains Braybrook.
Gunawirra was started as a means to empower First Nations and Torres Strait Islander people, families and communities to develop their full potential, with the vision for Australia to respect and value their immense culture and history. Through the organisation’s various programs, including such incredible work as the Young Aboriginal Mothers Program (YAMP), which focuses on bettering the lives of First Nations mothers and children, Gunawirra has made undeniable change to those in its community.
While yes, taking to Instagram to hashtag and repost is going to help raise awareness—we must continue to amplify our voices and educate those around us.
marie claire has long advocated for the rights of Indigenous Australians, dedicating the February 2020 issue to push for the constitutional recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The It’s Time campaign, fronted by Jess Mauboy, Miranda Tapsell and Samantha Harris, saw some of the country’s most influential unite for change.
Some resources to read up on:
- Miranda Tapsell’s Powerful Call To Action For Indigenous Recognition
- 3 Indigenous Women On The Need For A Treaty
- Jessica Mauboy Reveals What Indigenous Recognition Would Mean To Her
- Meet The Fashion Designers Honouring Indigenous Culture
- 6 Indigenous-Owned Businesses To Get Behind Immediately
- Amy Thunig On Black Excellence, Education And Empowerment
- Meet The Sisters Celebrating Black Excellence
- 9 Anti-Racist Crusaders To Follow On Instagram Immediately