NAIDOC Week puts women in the spotlight

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

As well as celebrating history, the week is also about celebrating the future and this year’s theme ‘Because of her, we can!” is a real representation of that. 

The theme celebrates the invaluable contributions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are making to our communities, families and our history.

Like all women, Aboriginal women have had to fight for justice, equal rights, rights to country, law and justice, access to education, employment and to maintain and celebrate culture, language, music and art.

But they have also had to overcome so much more.

They have to fight through discrimination and through the continuous struggle for access to education and employment.

The Port Lincoln community is home to many Aboriginal women who are role models and leaders – Wirangu Elder Veda Betts is one of those. 

She is able to speak with experience to young Aboriginal women, provide a strong link to culture and sets an example for all young people. 

Just last year she was among the first five Aboriginal students to complete UniSA’s Indigenous Participation Pathway program and planned to go on to study a Bachelor of Arts Program (Aboriginal Studies and Australian Culture).

The importance and impact of shining a light on Aboriginal women from all over the country – not just locally – cannot be underestimated.

Another is Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation board co-chairperson Emma Richards.

She is the first female chairperson for Barngarla native title affairs and was at the handover of the Barngarla native title claim last month and is involved with a number of Barngarla community initiatives.

Ms Richards helped organise Port Lincoln’s NAIDOC Week events as part of a committee which was made up predominantly of women.

These women do amazing things for their communities every day and that is certainly something worth celebrating.

Pictured left are (back): Shenice Wells, Katie Wells, Jayleighka Rigney, Timeisha Simpson; front: Dakota Roderick, Shania Kartinyeri and Skye Coleman.