Read, Learn and Buy: How to Continue to ‘Heal Country’ Beyond NAIDOC Week

Naidoc Indigenous

NAIDOC Week is over but that doesn’t mean the conversation or the activism stops.

Originating in the Aboriginal Rights Movement of the 1960s, the ‘National Aborigines [sic] and Islanders Day Observance Committee’ organised the events of a week-long celebration of Indigenous culture, with the group lending its name to the week itself.

This year, the theme of NAIDOC week was ‘Heal Country’, calling for the recognition, protection, and maintenance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and the lands of these traditional custodians.

This past week we’ve seen events up and down the country from gallery shows, to tours, to performances. It’s been an incredible time to connect with the oldest living culture on the planet and reaffirm its importance in modern Australia.

Here are just some of the ways you can continue that journey of discovery and assist with the healing of country.

Read Indigenous

If you’re looking for a new book to tuck into during the lockdown or just to see you through the cold winter months, there’s tonnes of Indigenous page-turners out there you have to read.

Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe

If you’ve not read Dark Emu by now, what are you waiting for? Drawing on original historical accounts from early European explorers, Pascoe tackles the myth that Indigenous people were simple hunter gatherers by detailing how they built extensive agricultural constructions, farmed the land, and lived in established homes. Dark Emu puts truth to the lie that Australia was founded upon and is a must read for everyone.

Welcome To Country, Marcia Langton

Our country’s pre-eminent Indigenous scholar, Langton has put together the first ever Indigenous travel guide to Australia. Covering every state and territory, Langton walks you through the etiquette of being on country and where and when to experience some of the most breath-taking Indigenous experiences Australia has to offer.

Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia, Anita Heiss

The Indigenous entry in the Growing Up… series, award-winning author Anita Hess has complied a selection of personal experiences from a range of diverse Indigenous voices. From the high-profile to the up and coming, the book contains stories from childhood, family, and country to give a glimpse into what it means to be Indigenous in Australia today.

Talking To My Country, Stan Grant

ABC news presenter and commentator Stan Grant’s Guardian essay in 2015 went viral in response to the booing of Adam Goodes. This book is his expansion of those ideas, talking to all Aussies about what it means to be Australian. Grant discusses identity, history, society in an honest and direct way that motivates us to do better, be better, and create a country that we’re all proud to be a part of.

Terra nullius, Claire G. Coleman

Debut novel by breakout author Claire G. Coleman takes the Indigenous experience and reframes it through the lens of science fiction. It’s a great book for all fans of the genre as well as anyone interested in the weird, disturbing capacity of literature. It uses the notion of invasion to speak candidly about the experiences of systemic oppression and colonisation. This ones another must-read.

Buy Indigenous

Supporting local Indigenous businesses is one of the best ways you can help continue to heal country by ensuring Indigenous entrepreneurs are successful. Here’s where to buy.

Clothing The Gaps

This Victorian, Aboriginal-owned and led social enterprise creates merchandise with meaning. Their strong branding, defiant slogans, and bare-faced truth telling is designed to spark conversation.

Ginny’s Girl Gang

Ginny, a proud Gomaroi Gamilaraay woman from Brisbane, started painting jackets to capture Indigenous knowledge, culture, and politics. She now sells these hand-painted, limited items with messages of love, respect, and protection which you can pick up at her online store.

Nood Australia

Sustainable, eco-friendly cleaning products are all the rage at the minute. If you’re done filling your home with chemicals of mysterious origin and purpose, check out Nood for cleaning sprays, soaps, and even dishwashing supplies made with native Australian botanicals.

Sobah Beverages

If you’re on the Dry July wagon, or simply want to sip on something delicious without having to make a fuss about not drinking, get around Sobah. Brewed in Brisbane, the team were the first to create non-alcoholic craft beers in Australia that use native, bush tucker ingredients.

Kinya Lerrk

This collaboration of Indigenous visual artists create amazing, colourful designs for your home. Get a statement piece print, plaque, or painting or simply bath your home in the beautiful scent of native flowers and plants with their bespoke candles.

Learn Indigenous

There’s a lot to know when it comes to Indigenous culture and history. You can start by learning which country you’re on and then maybe finding out some of the local language too. Check out the below for inspiration.

High Ground

Stephen Maxwell Johnson’s great Australian ‘Northern’ is a tense but beautifully shot drama focusing on the story of colonial police and their clashes with the Indigenous people in Arnhem land. If you ever needed a reason to visit the NT, this is it.

My Name Is Gulpilil 

New from the ABC, the great Australian actor David Gulpilil explores his life and story in what is likely to be his last film. Diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer, Gulpilil takes the opportunity to discuss his extraordinary past, his incredible body of work, and his own fate and future.

First Australians

If you haven’t yet seen First Australians, now’s your chance. Currently streaming on SBS, the seven-part documentary series follows the birth of modern Australia through indigenous eyes, from the arrival of the first fleet to the legal battles of Eddie Mabo.

Thin Black Line

A deeply Aussie true-crime drama, the Thin Black Line podcast explores what exactly happened to Aboriginal teenager Daniel Yock, who died in police custody. It’s presented engagingly by Walkley Award-winning investigative journalist Allan Clarke.

Black Magic Woman

A chatty, conversational-style podcast hosted by Mundanara Bayles who interviews First Nations people from across Australia and around the world. The guests are always uplifting and full of new ideas and perspectives. A great one for a lockdown walk.

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