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NAIDOC Week is a Time to Celebrate The Rich History

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NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate the rich history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year’s theme, “Keep the Fire Burning! Blak, Loud, and Proud,” resonates deeply with the ongoing journey of preserving and nurturing Indigenous knowledge and traditions. It signifies the commitment to sustaining the spirit, resilience, and wisdom of Indigenous communities across Australia.


I strongly believe that skills and education are key to social inclusion and empowering people to thrive. In our rapidly changing world, school education is no longer enough. With the new targets for participation in post-secondary education, we have an opportunity to address the systemic challenges and inequitable access—be it to education, training, or other recognised forms of capability and skill development. Ensuring that every individual has access to lifelong learning opportunities is crucial for fostering an inclusive society where every Australian has “the capability to choose lives they have reason to value.”.


Additionally, as our views on skills evolve, we are putting more importance on communication, relationship building, and systemic thinking skills that have a central role in Indigenous teachings and culture. These skills are integral to Indigenous ways of knowing and being, where knowledge is shared through storytelling, kinship, and a deep connection to the land and community. Importantly, this is not just about fixing disadvantages; it’s about recognising and valuing the unique contributions that Indigenous knowledge and perspectives bring to our shared future. To me, this raises two questions: what can we learn from our Indigenous elders; and can this shift be used to the advantage of the next generation of Indigenous young people?


Indigenous elders possess a wealth of knowledge and wisdom that can inform and enrich contemporary education and skill development. By integrating Indigenous perspectives and methodologies into mainstream education, can we create a more holistic and inclusive learning environment? Can it help us create learning that will better set up our future leaders for future success and uniquely position our Australian leaders on the world stage?


Empowering Indigenous youth with the skills and knowledge rooted in their culture, and access to modern education and training will create pathways for their success. I would assert that a dual approach could help bridge the gap between traditional knowledge and contemporary skills, fostering a generation of Australian leaders who are well-equipped to navigate and contribute to a rapidly changing world.


In celebrating NAIDOC Week and keeping the fires burning, we honour the past, acknowledge the present, and look forward to a future where Indigenous knowledge and culture are integral to our collective growth and prosperity.





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