How you can support Indigenous artists and get involved for NAIDOC Week 2021

NAIDOC Week this year is a lot different with lockdown, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate or support the Indigenous community.

Whether you’re at celebrating at home or not, you can honour Indigenous history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples this NAIDOC Week (4-11 July).

If you can celebrate within your community, remember to safely protect the vulnerable such as Elders and those with pre-existing health conditions from COVID-19.

Naidoc Week 2021
Image: Supplied

NAIDOC Week logo from the 2021 poster by Maggie-Jean Douglas

So, what are some ways to celebrate and support communities during NAIDOC Week?

You can attend a virtual event

There are a bunch of online events this year you can attend.

The official NAIDOC website has made it super easy for you to find an event you can attend by enabling a search bar for the event.

You can search by event name, postcode or state. Luckily, many of these events go well into July, and August.

Display this year’s NAIDOC poster with a free poster download

I mean, how much easier can it get? The vibrant poster ‘Care for Country’ was designed by Gubbi Gubbi artist Maggie-Jean Douglas.

Stick it in the window of your home, post it on social media, hand out some posters to some of your local cafes!

Engage with someone in your community

Call, message, or meet up with someone in your community to chat about this year’s theme, ‘Heal Country!’. What does it mean to you? More importantly, what does it mean to the Indigenous community?

Or, join the conversation online by following #NAIDOCWeek2021 #NAIDOCWeek #HealCountry on Instagram or Twitter.

Active and engaging Indigenous Instagram pages to follow (that I love) include drag queen @iam_deadly_feliciafoxx, @abcindigenous, musician @soju_gang and amazing charity of Indigenous LGBTQI @blackrainbowaus.

Read a variety of essays from SBS Voices’ NAIDOC Week

Six essays from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, writers and community members have been published that all explore different components around the Heal Country! theme.

These primarily memoir based essays are poignant, beautiful and absolutely critical. Check them out here.

Another one for the literary lovers: purchase novels written by Indigenous folk

Supporting authors is just as important and needed as supporting other kinds of artists. And luckily, there are many wonderful Indigenous written books you can scope.

My favourites are That Dead Man Dance by Kim Scott (Noongar), Home by Larissa Behrendt (Eualeyai/Kamilaroi), Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe (Bunurong, Yuin) and My Place by Sally Morgan (Palku, Nyamal).

If you’re in Perth, check out the finals for Miss NAIDOC Perth 2021

The grassroots non-profit competition has nine (stunning) finalists.

These finalists are offered empowerment support, personal and professional advice to young Aboriginal women to enhance self-confidence and leadership skills.

Tickets are already on sale with finals this Saturday, 10 July. Find out more about the finalists here.

Enjoy numerous TV shows and films

Some documentaries and TV shows have yet to air this week on ABC, and SBS like My Name is Gulpilil (11 July 8:30 PM ABC), and comedy history special History Bites Back (11 July 8:30 PM SBS).

Can’t decide which one to watch? No worries, both will be available on ABC iView and SBS Demand streaming services.

A selection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander films and TV shows have also been added to Netflix and Stan. Can’t decide what you’re in the mood for?

Have a snoop of what what’s available here. Or, have a look at how Channel 10 presented the weather map on July 5 (they should do this every day)

Discover Indigenous businesses to support

Supply Nation has conveniently created a webpage that is a directory of Indigenous business, and organised into separate categories (with search engines) to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Basically like Yellow Pages, but even better!

Some of my favourite Indigenous businesses include Birrunga Gallery and Dining in Brisbane CBD, owned by artist Birrunga (Wiradyuri) – displaying Indigenous art and serving bush tucker with a modern twist.

Other businesses I adore are two funky jewellery labels, Haus of Dizzy by Kristy Dickinson (Wiradjuri) and Nungala Creative by Jessica Johnson (Warumungu/Wombaya).

Check out Indigenous music/creative events

Lucky for us this year, a few of these music events will be occurring beyond NAIDOC week.

This year from July 31st to August 1st, the annual Homeground event Higher Ground brings the best First Nations artists.

On August 7th, there’s the National Indigenous Music Awards hosted in Alice Springs, which has a boss line-up including The Kid LAROI, Sycco and Baker Boy.

Joining them are two-time finalists Birdz, Miiesha, and Tia Gostelow. And introducing as a first-time nominee is Budjerah, J-MILLA, King Stingray and Chasing Ghosts.

To top it off, last year’s Triple J Unearthed NIMAs winner JK-47 will also be performing.

Unique and remote Freedom Day Festival is on this year in late August on Gurindji country (Northern Territory) that includes arts, music, sports and culture.

Check out previous Indigenous events here (some events may be postponed/cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic).

Jam out to music

Can’t make any of the festivals? No worries, you’re covered with a plethora of musicians.

Some of my favourite Indigenous musicians include beautiful Leah Flanagan (Alyawarre), whose album Colour by Number landed in Double J’s Top 50 Albums of 2020 and is also a nominee for NIMAs Album of the Year.

There’s the notorious Jessica Mauboy, Christina Anu (if you didn’t love Sunshine On A Rainy Day, were you even a ’00s kid?), the classic Archie Roach and cool as fuck Thelma Plum.

If you want to discover more, check out Creative Spirits‘ website that alphabetically and genre categorises Indigenous musicians.

Support, acknowledgement and celebration of Indigenous culture doesn’t belong just to NAIDOC Week!

These aspects are just a few of the many ways you can engage and support the community. Remember that there is always more to learn.

There is always room to grow. If you use incorrect terms and are corrected, if you are corrected on information – listen and learn, celebrate and support.

Remember the land we live on.