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Celebrating 'For Our Elders' NAIDOC 2023 Theme

Wattle Woman NAIDOC Blog

I am choosing to celebrate this year's NAIDOC Week theme, 'For Our Elders,' by paying tribute to my great grandfather, Bob Appo, and creating a special shirt in his honour. My grandfather's vibrant and lively spirit lives on through me, evident in my art and personality. The shirt bears the powerful message, "Black, white, or Brindle, you are enough." This design draws inspiration from a quote in my grandfather's book, The Most Colour Bowler, which he wrote in 1992 at the age of 60. In the dedication, he wrote, "It just goes to show that no matter what colour you are, black, white, or brindle, if you excel in any sport, you can reach the top through hard work. To the Aboriginal Communities in Australia, don't give up." My grandfather's resilience inspires me to stay strong in the face of adversity. 

What strikes me is the parallel between his experiences as a black man in a colonized country and my own struggles as a person of mixed heritage in today's society. I am often judged too quickly based on the lightness of my skin, which fails to reflect the depth of my connection to Country, culture, and lineage. The hearts in the middle of the design symbolize the beautiful range of skin colours within my family tree. This meaningful shirt serves as a simple reminder, worn with pride, that all individuals, regardless of their colour—be it black, white, or brindle—are enough. You owe nothing to anyone; find peace in the knowledge that you are enough. 

Below is the description of this year's theme from the Official NAIDOC website if you’d like to learn more.

We’re proud to announce that the 2023 National NAIDOC Week theme is 
For Our Elders.  
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.  
Our loved ones who pick us up in our low moments and celebrate us in our high ones. Who cook us a feed to comfort us and pull us into line, when we need them too.   
They guide our generations and pave the way for us to take the paths we can take today. Guidance, not only through generations of advocacy and activism, but in everyday life and how to place ourselves in the world.   
We draw strength from their knowledge and experience, in everything from land management, cultural knowledge to justice and human rights. Across multiple sectors like health, education, the arts, politics and everything in between, they have set the many courses we follow.  
The struggles of our Elders help to move us forward today. The equality we continue to fight for is found in their fight. Their tenacity and strength has carried the survival of our people.  
It is their influence and through their learnings that we must ensure that when it comes to future decision making for our people, there is nothing about us - without us.  
We pay our respects to the Elders we’ve lost and to those who continue fighting for us across all our Nations and we pay homage to them.  
In 2023, how will you celebrate For Our Elders?  

1 comment

  • Bob sounds like a lovely human being ~ he would be so proud of his great granddaughter. Xo


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