NCIE has a long and proud history of celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, culture, history and achievements each year during NAIDOC.

We are so excited to celebrate NAIDOC Week (4-11 July) and in 2021, we’re doing things a little differently by reflecting on past NAIDOC at NCIE events, plus hearing from our deadly First Nations staff to learn more about what NAIDOC means to them.

NCIE CEO Darren Hammond is a proud Gomeroi man from Moree, who has called Sydney home from a young age.

Darren said NAIDOC Week is a chance for us as a country to celebrate and learn more about Aboriginal culture and traditions.

The 2021 theme ’Heal Country’, calls for all of us to continue seeking greater protections for our lands, waters, and sacred sites.

Healing Country also calls for everyone to embrace First Nation’s cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia’s national heritage and to work towards redressing historical injustice with fair and equitable resolutions.

“NAIDOC is morphing into a place of education, with more people learning about our culture, history and the social injustices,” Darren explained.

“Heal can be looking at healing country in drought, or deforestation, climate change to the destruction of sacred sites through, but it’s also Heal from a personal level too, through intergenerational trauma.”

Darren said Healing is about finding one’s identity and being connected back to family, culture and Country.

NCIE Fitness centre manager Danny Allende, is a proud Aboriginal man from La Perouse, with family connections to Walgett and Cowra in central-west NSW.

Danny said sport allows him the opportunity to connect with others and share with them the significance of NAIDOC, plus each year’s theme, and its importance to First Nations people.

“NAIDOC for me is a time of celebration, to showcase our culture and recognise each year’s theme,” he said.

“We are a part of Country, so it’s not only about connecting back to Country, but connecting with yourself and checking in.”

NCIE’s Job Ready founder and proud Gamilaroi Elder Aunty Beryl Van Oploo, said NAIDOC allows First Nations people to share culture and traditions with Australians everywhere.

“I’m so proud that we’re able to share our culture through NAIDOC celebrations and continue that for the next generation,” Aunty Beryl said.

Aunty Beryl said we “must take care of Country.”

“The land does not belong to us, we belong to Mother Earth,” she added.

NCIE’s Work Health and Safety Business Partner, Suanne Sands, is a proud Kuku Djungan/Yidinji woman, from the Yarrabah Aboriginal community, near Cairns.

Suanne said NAIDOC is a time to reflect and share culture through storytelling, traditional dancing, art and education.

“NAIDOC is a time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to come together and reflect on our journey and look towards the future,” she explained.

Suanne stays connected to culture and community by participating in various cultural activities and by keeping connected to mob.