26 Jun 2023

NAIDOC Week 2023 (2-9 July 2023)

By Lenka Vodstrcil and Zhoujie Ding (on behalf of CCS EDI committee)

NAIDOC Week is held annually to celebrate the incredible achievements made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to recognise their history and culture. It is a chance for everyone to celebrate the oldest continuous living cultures on earth, and recognise their connection to and care of the land and waters. It also emphasises the role  of non-Indigenous people to take time to learn and reflect upon the detrimental impact colonisation has had on the lives of First Nations peoples, and raises the awareness of the non-Indigenous people’s privilege that has occurred since colonisation. 

This year's theme is ‘For Our Elders’, and artist Bobbi Lockier has created a beautiful poster that can be printed and shared. Bobbi shared these words when reflecting on what this year's theme means to her: “Where there is knowledge there are our Elders. Our Elders paved the pathways for us, taught us our knowledge, our history, they passed down their art, stories and wisdom. Our Elders are the foundation of our communities and role models for our children. With this poster I wanted to showcase how important our Elders are in passing down traditions and culture to our children and future.”

There are several different events being held locally and nationally for NAIDOC Week. We encourage you to find a local event and take time to honour the deep and rich culture that we have the honour of being able to celebrate.

Some links to events are below:

  • Special event hosted by the Baker Institute and Central Clinical School (7 July): Guest speaker N’arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM will speak about the responsible rights of being a strong elder. Boon Wurrung elder N’Arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM is the chairperson and founder of the Boon Wurrung Foundation and has been involved in developing and supporting opportunities for Indigenous youth and Boon Wurrung culture for over 50 years.
  • Art show in Kingston (23 June): Reflecting on the 2023 NAIDOC Week theme, For our Elders, Kingston Arts presents a group exhibition of esteemed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists that encourages conversation between traditional practices and contemporary approaches. 
  • Monash University hosts the 2023 Indigenous Nationals (26-30 June): Monash’s Clayton campus will host the 27th Indigenous Nationals, a week-long multi-sport competition for Indigenous students.
  • Tree planting (2 July)
  • For Kin and Country: First Peoples have combined modern military and traditional skills to serve in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) from the Boer War to the present day. This Shrine special exhibition explores the extraordinary history of First Peoples’ service in the ADF.
  • Bring the kids to Family Day at Collingwood Children's Farm (5 July)
  • The Voice to Parliament Handbook Book Tour Event (6 July)
  • Writing Blak Legacies: A First Nations Literature Gala. This year, the University of Queensland Press released the first instalment of its First Nations Classics series, recognising the brilliant and vital literary contributions made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers across the decades. To mark the publication of this landmark series, the Wheeler Centre and Blak & Bright present a vibrant evening of reflections, readings and performance featuring many of the series authors and contributors.
  • Why not join a 'virtual' run or walk held by Clothing the Gaps Foundation: 
  • The City of Melbourne is hosting several events and encourages us to participate in these activities with the Aboriginal community. 
  • You can also check if there are any events being hosted by your own local council.
  • The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra are also running several exciting events, including a celebration of the music by Archie Roach, and a collaborative event with Electric Fields.
  • You also might like to visit the Koorie Heritage Trust, a First Nations managed and led organisation that supports and promotes art and artists.

Indigenous Health Equity and Cultural Safety in Research seminar

By Lenka Vodstrcil1 and Zhoujie Ding on behalf of CCS EDI committee, with Danielle Clarke on behalf of SPHPM ED&I committee.

On Tuesday 20 June, the Central Clinical School (CCS) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee joined forces with the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine (SPHPM) Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the first time to deliver a sub-faculty seminar on Indigenous Health Equity and Cultural Safety in Research. We had a great turnout at the Alfred Hub and online via zoom, and afterwards shared food from Indigenous catering company, Bunji.

In what we hope becomes an annual event around Reconciliation Week, we heard two incredible talks from Dr Jessica O’Brien, ‘The paradigmatic clash: Indigenous vs biomedical research’ and Dr Julia McCartan, ‘Holding the mirror up: Examining power inequities for non-Indigenous people operating in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contexts’.

Dr O’Brien is an Aboriginal woman from central west New South Wales and imaging cardiologist working at Alfred Health. She is undertaking her PhD at CCS, investigating the role of cardiac MRI in diagnosing acute rheumatic fever and predicting who is at highest risk of developing rheumatic heart disease. Through her project, Dr O’Brien learnt about how Indigenous methodologies can be incorporated into biomedical research undertaken in institutional settings. Dr O’Brien shared the “pivots” she had to make to ensure that the research was culturally safe for Indigenous staff, participants and other stakeholders. She also detailed her experiences in undertaking a project in remote settings.

Our second speaker, Dr McCartan, joined us from the Monash Centre for Scholarship in Health Education. Dr McCartan spoke about how she applied critical methodology to examine non-Indigenous people's roles in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs in her PhD. She provided examples of how we can practise critical reflexivity, critical consciousness and be anti-racist in our roles as health professionals and students. Using the 'coin model' of privilege and critical allyship, Dr McCartan pointed out that in order to enact change for people who face inequity, we need to disrupt the barriers and social structures that at the same time afford us privilege and unearned advantage. 

A recording of the presentation will be available at the CCS EDI webpage.

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