Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Walking Together – towards Makarrata NAIDOC Week

Posted on 11 July, 2023 by Ivan

We’re a little late to publish this informative article from Friends of Nalderun about NAIDOC Week (which ended on 9th July) but it’s definitely still worth a good read. The article was written by Floria Maschek, an ally and member of Friends of Nalderun (FoN). Nalderun is a Dja Dja Wurrung word meaning “all together”. 

NAIDOC Week – For Our Elders

The raven/crow or ‘Waa’ in Dja Dja Wurrung, is an important totem to the Kulin Nation which Djaara are part of. Its call aptly wakes me on the morning I complete this column. Country is telling me to get up. There is work to do! I’m a non-First Nations person but connected now to Djaara Country and with responsibilities to it. Elders past and present are foremost in my consciousness, and I acknowledge their care for community, which is integral to Country. 

NAIDOC Week is celebrated from 2 – 9 July this year. The National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week’s theme this year is – ‘For Our Elders’. 

NAIDOC Week is a time when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people celebrate, recognising their history, culture and achievements. Locally, many First Nations People do so without taking on the same level of burden educating non-First People’s as they do for the recent Reconciliation Week. However, on these unceded lands where safety, truth and culture have so often been denied, NAIDOC Week offers an opportunity for all people to learn about and celebrate the oldest continuous living cultures on earth. 

The substantial history behind NAIDOC Week dates back to the 1920’s and 30’s and should be in our national consciousness, including the determined activism of people like Yorta Yorta Elder William Cooper, and one of the first major civil rights gatherings in the world, the Day of Mourning on Jan 26th 1938. These are among  many historical efforts that led to this week of celebration. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders earn their status, not simply by getting older, but by the relationships nurtured over time. They are recognised by their communities for their wisdom, cultural knowledge, care and service. Being an Elder comes with much responsibility. In turn, Elders should be treated with a high level of respect. The amazing Elders in our community are very busy people and it’s important that we know who they are. 

Locally, many will be increasingly familiar not only with local Elders but also other dedicated and hard working First Nations educators and mentors. Protocols around Elder status are more complex than many are aware and I myself am doing my learning around this. 

We are increasingly aware of First People’s culture and the very considerable efforts of these local leaders that go into celebrating First Nations people, culture and community. Young and proud First Nations People are emerging as leaders, listening and learning from the wisdom of the Elders and mentors. 

This year the National NAIDOC Committee 2023 writes: ‘Across every generation, our Elders have played, and continue to play, an important role and hold a prominent place in our communities and families. They are cultural knowledge holders, trailblazers, nurturers, advocates, teachers, survivors, leaders, hard workers and our loved ones.’ 


For more information about NAIDOC week including its history and events visit

To learn about respectfully communicating with Elders visit 


For further information on Djaara Country and the Dja Dja Wurrung people please visit Djaara

Floria Maschek is an ally and member of Friends of Nalderun (FoN). FoN members are guided by Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation and are diverse individuals and representatives of many local community networks, supporting Nalderuns visions and work. Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation supports the Aboriginal Community and is led by Aboriginal people while providing many learning and cultural opportunities to the broader community. Nalderun is a Dja Dja Wurrung word meaning “all together”. 

More information can be found at

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