SURVEY FINDINGS:
WHAT DOES NAIDOC WEEK 2021
MEAN TO YOU?

Introduction:

In June 2021, Blak Business created and released a survey to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with a culturally safe space to share their opinions and insights about NAIDOC Week. This survey sought to gather knowledge to create more meaningfully informed content for Blak Business and an article Olivia wrote for Concrete Playground (see appendix 2 and 3). 

Method:

The survey was comprised of three questions (see appendix 1) and was hosted on Google Forms. The survey was exclusively for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. To deter non-Indigenous voices, an introduction was included stating that only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were invited to complete the survey, and respondents were asked to name their mob or identity terminology. 

Participation in the survey was voluntary and anonymous. Participants could withdraw their participation at any time by exiting the survey. Participants had the opportunity to enter a draw to win one of five prizes from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander businesses. To enter, participants needed to include their email address or Instagram handle; this information was collected exclusively for the purpose of the giveaway. Winners of the giveaway were contacted privately.

The survey was advertised on Blak Business' Instagram story several times in June 2021.

Limitations:

Due to a number of limitations, the findings of this survey cannot be reliably generalised to reflect the opinion of the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, nor should they be used to support research.

Sample selection: The survey was distributed via Blak Business' Instagram platform and therefore only those who engage with the space had access to the survey. Not all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are on Instagram or engage with Blak Business, therefore all members of the community did not have the opportunity to share their perspectives. 

Sample size: The larger the sample, the more precise results are. Given that the sample size was small (32 respondents), the results cannot be reliably generalised to reflect the opinion of the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

 

Question structure: As some questions were open-ended, it was difficult (or impossible) to meaningfully translate the responses into quantitative results such as graphs and charts. 

Findings:

The survey had 35 respondents, 32 Aboriginal, and 3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Respondents were asked to include their mob (language group/nation) or a term which they identify with for the purpose of understanding where respondents come from.
35 language groups, nations, Islands, and/or terms were named.

Note: Duplicates have been omitted from this list. Where an individual identified with two or more language groups these have been separated to protect the anonymity of individuals. Likewise, where an individual named a specific tribe or clan of a language group, only the language group has been included to protect the anonymity of individuals.

Anaiwan

Bigambul

Bindal

Biripi

Birri Gubba

Bundjalung

Butchulla

Dharug

Dunghutti

Gamilaraay

Gamilaroi

Garawa

Gooreng Gooreng

Gugubadhun

Iamalaig

Kaanji

Kamilaroi

Koori

Kuku Yalengi

Kunja

Manegin

Meiam-peibre

Minjungbal

Mitakuti

Mununjali

Murramarang

Murri

Mutti Mutti

Ngadjon-Ji

Noongar

plangermaireener

Trawlwoolway

Waanyi

Wadi Wadi

Wakka Wakka

Wemba Wemba

Wergaia/Wotjobaluk

Wiradjuri

Yiman

Responses to each question have been organised into themes. 

Quotes are verbatim. 

Q1: What does NAIDOC Week mean to you? What do you do during NAIDOC Week?

Pride, celebration, and community

  • Showcasing black excellence and seeing heaps of mob out and about. 

  • A time to celebrate the oldest living culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, spending time with our elders learning and listening to use that knowledge to be proud of who we are and the long history we’ve come from.

  • NAIDOC means celebrating survival, achievements of our people, culture and progress. It means coming together, seeing family, friends and community. It means remembering the past, and how far we've come as a people and a nation. It means looking ahead to the changes we are going to make in the future.

  • NAIDOC week for me is about celebrating Blak resilience, knowledges and excellence. It feels positive and centred on mob.

  • It's a time for me to have an opportunity to share my culture with my non-indigenous brothers and sisters

  • An opportunity to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Attend events, teach my child (and the children I work with).

  • NAIDOC is a time where our mob get to come together to safe spaces and celebrate our culture, our ancestors and the journey we’ve had in the past & the journey that lies ahead. NAIDOC is a time of coming together to fill our cups with love, pride and knowledge, to continue to motivate ourselves to learn and teach the next generations, to be apart of the communities we live in the communities from our Home Countries. 

  • Celebrating our culture and our ancestors just as we did before colonisation 

  • NAIDOC is a week of celebrating and coming together with mob from all over the country. Its a week that makes me very proud to be an Aboriginal person.

  • NAIDOC week means to me - To come together and celebrate our culture. Be proud and strong. 

  • NAIDOC to me means a time of celebration. We have days of mourning for what happened to our people. Mourning and taking the time to heal his important. However, NAIDOC is a wonderful time to be proud and celebrate our amazing, unique and diverse culture. During NAIDOC I like to go to local celebrations in my community. I also like to wear something that’s important to me. (Indigenous shirt, paint, my totems feather) this is to start a conversation if someone asks. It’s a special way to educate.

  • I get to show the world our culture. We march and do activities. 

  • NAIDOC for me is about connecting with my community/family, celebrating our culture, acknowledging our elders strength, fight & resistance and embracing where we are now thanks to their legacy 

  • Celebrating past, present and future Aboriginal and indeginous culture in Australia 

  • It's a time of reflection, remembering important people in our community, a time to celebrate but also knowing what this week comes from. Knowing that it came came resistance, strength, fighting for justice, fighting against colonialism, white supremacy, ongoing acts of genocide, and celebration of invasion. NAIDOC is for us, and for many it's a time to celebrate who we are unapologetically, loud and proud. 

  • Celebration of Aboriginal people and practices 

  • A week of celebration, reflection and education for the entire nation.. not just schools,.

  • It is a time for reflection, and celebration. 

  • NAIDOC week is the most important week. It’s a time where most people recognise and pay respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Majority of the year most people don’t do anything or even show respect for the people or the land. Although I feel this is improving. It’s a time for me to teach my children about our history as well as every day but even more so through NAIDOC and reconciliation week. 

  • Look after my Dad he’s stolen gen and does it hard I like to go to Musgrave with the jarjums big mob feed and fun. 

  • what NAIDOC means to me is a time to gather with family and friends to yarn about the past and learn about my culture but aswell discuss the future and how we can work towards creating a safer Australia for our peoples.

  • Take time to remember what our ancestors went through for us and continue to fight for our country 

  • Celebrating our culture, our achievements, employing our voices and showing everyone how deadly we are. 

  • It means a lot that our culture in it's entirety is on the forefront of peoples minds and is being respected and celebrated. It's a time to be loud and proud and get together with community. On the other hand I get really frustrated with people doing things they should be doing 365 days of the year because of NAIDOC.

  • There is always something happening in Brisbane within the community. I am usually at Musgraves Park for NAIDOC

  • I don’t have much family so I make the most of the week by going to community events to connect and learn. 

  • NAIDOC to me is about celebrating and sharing our Culture with everyone but also an opportunity to highlight the meaning behind the the theme of NAIDOC.

  • Celebrate and educate

 

A concept that should be celebrated all year

  • NAIDOC is a week of recognition, but the celebration of Indigenous excellence and acknowledgement of welfare should happen every week of the year

  • NAIDOC for me is no different to any other week of the year. I use it as an opportunity to attend events to connect with other mob and learn about nations outside my own, but I celebrate Blak excellence and welfare every week!

Other

  • NAIDOC means protest, it means marches, it means spending time celebrating blak excellence.

  • I read books by fellow indigenous people. We watch indigenous movies as a family and i have conversations with my kids about whatever they are learning to make sure it’s the whole truths! 

  • My employer used to give us a day off work in NAIDOC week which was nice. I usually used that to spend time with family- it kind of makes up for the fact that the public holiday for Invasion Day is not a day for us to celebrate. When I worked for an Aboriginal org, NAIDOC week meant a lot of hard work!! It was exhausting and sometimes frustrating. 

  • I do a lot of reflecting during NAIDOC week. As a result, I often find myself doing acknowledgements to country or talking on panels to educate non-indigenous people more around NAIDOC week. This is because I’m one out of two or three blakfellas that people know. I wish I was with family back home during NAIDOC week but covid has made that hard.

Q2: What does 'Heal Country' mean to you?

Land 

  • It means respecting traditional methods of caring for country if we want a future for our children 

  • To look after our Mother Earth 

  • Heal Country means using the cultural knowledge and systems that have been used to shape and care for this land over thousands of years. It’s about situating environmental policy and practices in an Indigenous framework where we only take what we need and allow Country to replenish. Ideally all Australians would better appreciate the Indigenous relationship between land/waters and people.

  • The land is connect to us and we are connected to the land. I don’t think it’s ‘spiritual’ but more like a relationship. You honour the land and help it thrive, it helps us thrive and the land looks after us. To me ‘Heal Country’ means we heal the land so that we as First Nations people can heal.

  • Giving back to the mother for all the love and wigay (bush tucker) she given us. People shouldn't only start looking to heal the land and the air because they don't want climate change to wipe them out, they should've been looking after her anyway !!!

  • Country has always provided for us and loved us and, unfortunately, along the way we may have forgotten to care, nurture and respect it back. 

  • It means restoring Country, also that Country is a healer 

  • It means reconnecting with our culture and reconnecting with our land 

  • Heal Country means to Care for Country and to bring it back to a healthy state of being.

  • To heal it by not only reconnection to our country but to help it survive, we can do that by reducing waste and litter, saving our sacred trees etc. 

  • Look after our country, get connected to our country again.

  • Bringing land systems & management back to cultural ways, learning from our elders 

  • For me, I've been lucky enough to still have connections to my country. For me it's the ongoing learning, listening to country, knowing what it needs in terms of regeneration and growth through traditional fire practices, protecting water on that country, looking after animals on country, and reconnecting community to country to learn from it and give back to it. When we heal country, we heal ourselves. 

  • To me to heal our lands from the bushfires and droughts and to protect our precious places from destruction by big ignorant companies. That only care about $

  • Ensuring we look after and preserve our Country, our roots, so that the next generations have a place to call home and connect to. 

  • I feel it's a really powerful stance taken to bring to the forefront the fact that we aren't listening to TO's and knowledge holders about how we can care for country. Country is who we are, it owns us and I feel a part of us being taken when it keeps getting used for economic gain and taken for granted 

  • Taking the time to appreciate country, educate others about country and why we are so connected to it

  • Looking after the land, by knowledge from blackfullas

  • Remedying the environmental impacts of colonisation. Mob have the knowledge but it shouldn’t be *just* up to mob as it’s not our mess to clean


Holistic healing

  • Our country and people are connected. Once we start to heal our country we start to heal ourselves.

  • Time for us to take back control and heal our country - bring back life. Heal country = healing us

  • Indigenous peoples all across the world were and are the best conservationists, and have been for thousands of years. Our country has been damaged so badly since the arrival of the colonisers, and we need to protect and regenerate nature and country. The same can be said for our culture and our people, and healing and regeneration is underway in a lot of ways for both of us at the same time. It makes sense, given our connection to country. 

  • Protecting the earth, because we need her and she needs us. We came from the soil and mob who aren't with us have returned to the soil so we're looking after them too

  • Heal country for me means acknowledging the land and the Victim of colonialism it’s been as well as our mob and do our part is healing our country, looking after it. Being one with our land, animals and ecosystems. 

  • Due to the trauma Indigenous people have faced connection to country has been lost. This doesn’t just affect our people but it also affects the land. Heal country to me means healing the connection that was lost during the time our people were treated horribly by white Australia. 

  • Healing the people and land from white colonialism. Planning to not repeat the same mistakes and make things better.

  • Feeling a sense of belonging, feel valued and being heard. 

  • It brings about questions of the dominant knowledge systems in this country. When the public debate and discourse turns to the preservation of culture and land, it is always in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and Country. This is indicative of the dominant and “superior” knowledge systems assuming a saviour role, in that they know best. But the long-term future of Australia is under existential threat, apropos of non-Indigenous cultures and attitudes; the breakdown of our environment - through poor land, water, and fire management, the destruction of our natural habitat, reliance on fossil fuels and other non-renewables, etc. 

  • Heal Country, to me, is about how we come together, and place our knowledge systems side by side - none better than the other - to work towards a better future. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples looked after this land for millenia - it is time for our knowledges to be privileged in finding solutions for all Australians. 

  • Heal country, to heal each other, to heal from our past, to heal the environment. To heal ourselves. 

  • Bringing us together healing but it’s hard because racism still exists and it hurts but I try to forgive 

  • This years celebration has been the most important for me but mainly for my children! Making it safe for them to be loud and proud indigenous humans.. Acknowledging that we have sustained, cared and been the pioneers with our land and letting us take back that power to teach and practice our ways again! 

  • Heal Country to me means to remember the past and accept we can’t change it but be there for everyone who witnessed and went through trauma while also coming together to create a better future.

  • Healing as a whole, being connected to country and taking back what belonged to our ancestors

  • Heal Country to me means not only healing our Countries from the impacts of invasion but also healing our spirits from the hurt and pain of the impacts of past policies and what has been taken from us.

  • Empowering mob to heal the scars caused by colonist development. Educating society on the value of the land and it's healing properties. Recognising traditional owners and protecting culturally significant sites from destruction. 

Q3: How would you like to see non-Indigenous peoples involved in NAIDOC Week?

 

Get involved

  • Non Indigenous people should be mindful not to take up space in NAIDOC week. They should buy a table at the NAIDOC ball for their Indigenous employees, give paid time away from work for us to attend NAIDOC activities like the march. 

  • Get involved in naidoc events

  • Caring for Country, attending events, listening, actively researching and seeking out information, passing the mic

  • I love to see non-Indigenous Australia celebrating NAIDOC, getting involved in events, lending a hand, paying respect, and most importantly getting educated about our culture and our history and how they can help with healing and positive changes going forward. 

  • Buying blak, donating, fundraising, volunteering for Blak orgs, special luxuries for mob to feel special and recognised 

  • As much as it is a special time for mob, it is a time for non-Indigenous Australians to lead the charge - in organising, in talking, in doing. 

  • They should be making an effort everyday, acknowledging us and country everyday, standing in solidarity with us everyday. Paying the rent and donations to help mob, attending important public events part of NAIDOC, connecting and listening to community and elders, learn the history of NAIDOC. Helping to influence change and fight for justice for us, and being allies. Doing the work to change Australia - because we are not the problem, and shouldn't have to be the only ones fighting everyday of our lives for justice, for change, and for Australian to do the right thing. Not just when it suits them or their brand. They need to listen, amplify our voices, and protect us, country, water and our futures. We can learn from each other more if we listened, but also First Nations people can lead real change with truth telling and understanding what the planet needs. We are the majority when it comes to caring for country, for our environments. We are also first and worst impacted by climate change and other injustices. 

  • Attending events, educating themselves, being allies the rest of the weeks of the year, speaking out against stereotypes and racism. 

  • Attend events, invite us into your organisation to talk, hear us speak.

  • As a newly graduated highschool student, I would like to see school seek more connections with elders and other indigenous people who are willing to come and educate children. I also think in schools how the land is treated ( littering etc ) has an affect on our indigenous peoples connection with the land and how to will affect us as a whole country in the future. Schools should also have books on display in the library that can contribute to a better understanding of culture.

  • We are 3% of the population. We cannot create all of the change that is needed by ourselves. We need the other 97% to come on that journey with us, and empower us with the platforms and means for real change. Some non-Indigenous folks feel overwhelmed by the amount of change that is needed. That is normal... But we are looking for those signs of encouragement. The recognition of who we are. The leading of anti-racist behaviours in our social circles and work places. THAT is what starts the ripple. THAT is the power of the 97%. THAT is what changes social discourse. THAT is where real, practical, tangible change starts. So, make some commitments, and stick to them. Not just through NAIDOC, but through every day and week and month of the year. Undertake cultural awareness learning. Do cultural safety training. Start a RAP group. Buy from a blak producer. Volunteer at a local organisation. Do good, meaningful acknowledgements of country. Go see First Nations theatre. Read a book by an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander author. Watch NITV. Attend a protest. Call out racism and other micro-aggressions. Non-Indigenous Australians need to show us that they are leading this fight. It should not fall exclusively on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be fighting for change alone. When I see non-Indigenous people leading this fight, I am encouraged, and it gives US the strength to keep fighting.

  • Organising events with (paid!) Indigenous speakers/artists/cultural knowledge holders, Buying from Blak-owned businesses, committing to learning and acting in support of Indigenous communities.

  • Attending events, inviting elders in to do a welcome to country in their workplace, schools, sports events. Invite elders in to share their knowledge.

  • Making an effort to celebrate NAIDOC Week, and orgs making an effort to allocate resources to host or support Indigenous run events. Listen and learn, and appreciate our culture. 

  • I would love to see non indigenous people come out to experience a NAIDOC Week function to really embrace the culture

  • Attending celebrations, learning through listening and participating and NOT using these as opportunities to ask questions to combat their racist preconceptions. Do that in your own time, quietly, without involving unsuspecting first nations people and educate yourself.

 

Advocacy and support

  • Advocate for indigenous Australians and acknowledge our culture

  • I would like to see the government value this week and acknowledge it with National Public Holiday. Like all public holidays it is an opportunity to recognise the true meaning of the particular date eg. No one works (majority) on ANZAC, Christmas Day, Easter and Queens Birthday- we ALL stop to remember. 

  • I’d like to see non-indigenous people advocate and amplify indigenous people within their workplaces, schools, communities etc. but also commit to their organisations/institutions etc have relationships with elders in their communities.

  • By showing their support for Aboriginal peoples and stop making rude ignorant comments to help lift up our indigenous people rather then tear down. 

  • I would like to see non-Indigenous peoples using their voices for better and acknowledging this is blak land and they are living on it. It would also be great for them to attend events and helping with planning or such events.

 

Listen and education

  • LISTENING !!!!! Not thinking they know what's best and hijacking NAIDOC, just simply listening

  • Attending ally-friendly events, looking to be educated

  • Seeking out education and making changes within colonialist organisations. 

  • Seeking out education, engaging with the theme

  • Don’t celebrate NAIDOC for token marketing activities for your LinkedIn posts, if you cared enough you wouldn’t need a specific week to celebrate us. Take a back seat and give us the space. We don’t need you to speak for us, we have a voice, you just need to listen to it. 

  • Non-indigenous peoples should use this opportunity to educate themselves about our culture and to do that they should attend events and speak to the elders present and emerging, speak to indigenous peoples they work with or are friends with and just learn as much as they can. 

  • Seek out education, buying from Indigenous businesses, listening to Indigenous voices and calling out racism

  • Learn more about our culture and be open minded about learning and understanding our culture.As we are the oldest living civilisation in the world.

  • Knowing their place, educating themselves on our true history and challenging themselves & others in regards to their embedded racial biases 

  • Definitely more education giving them literature to actually read themselves and learn with our relying on mob to do it for them. 

  • I want all schools to make this year the loudest in celebrating NAIDOC week. I want more Indigenous programs on 9,10,7. I don’t want it to be an option for non indigenous people to ignore the week or stay silent and uneducated I want everyone to feel moved to want to know more and be part of this change! 

  • Reaching out to local elders and organisations for education sessions 

  • Really learning, showing respect to our Elders and knowledge holders and truly listening deeply to what we care about 

  • The need to walk alongside us and be apart of the celebration but especially in schools. We need to start in schools and celebrate with all students. All Schools should be embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives by now so NAIDOC is a great way to celebrate with they have learnt as well.

Appendices:

Appendix 1: Survey

Introduction:

This survey is for ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES to share their perspective about NAIDOC Week. If you are not Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander please respect this space and DO NOT submit a response.

This survey is anonymous. 

The responses collected from this questionnaire will be used to inform a post on @BlakBusiness and a write up for Concrete Playground (https://concreteplayground.com/)
By completing this survey, you understand where the results will be distributed. 

Responses will not be attributed to individuals. 

Participation is voluntary and you can withdraw your participation by exiting the survey at any time.

PRIZES:
If you would like to enter the draw to win one of five prizes from an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander business, please include your email address or Instagram handle at the end of this survey. 
This information is collected only for the purpose of the giveaway. 

This survey is managed by: Blak Business.
Instagram.com/blakbusiness
www.blakbusiness.com.au

Questions: 

Only questions marked with * required a response before progressing.

 

Are you Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander? *

This survey is for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people to share their opinions on NAIDOC Week. If you are not Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, please respect this space and DO NOT submit a response.

Yes, Aboriginal

Yes, Torres Strait Islander

Yes, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

No, neither Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

Who's your mob? *

The purpose of this question is to get a better understanding of where respondents come from. If you don't know who your mob is, that's OK; I recognise, acknowledge and understand the impacts of settler colonialism. Please fill in this question with what feels comfortable to you.

For example, but not limited to: Noongar, Aboriginal, Blakfella etc. 

[short-answer box]

 

What does NAIDOC Week mean to you? What do you do during NAIDOC Week?

[long-answer box]

 

What does 'Heal Country' mean to you?

[long-answer box]

How would you like to see non-Indigenous peoples involved in NAIDOC Week? 

For example: attending events, organising events in their workplace/school/sporting club, making better environmental choices, seeking out education

[long-answer box]

 

Giveaway Entry (OPTIONAL)

If you would like to enter the draw to win one of five prizes from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander businesses, please include your email address or Instagram handle at the end of this survey. This information is collected only for the purpose of the giveaway. 

[short-answer box]

Appendix 2: Instagram Post

Appendix 3: Concrete Playground Article

Citation:

APA 7: 
Blak Business. (2021, July 4). Survey findings: What does NAIDOC Week 2021 mean to you? Retrieved [INSERT DATE: MONTH, DAY, YEAR] from https://www.blakbusiness.com.au/naidoc-2021-survey


MLA 8: 
Blak Business. "Survey findings: What does NAIDOC Week 2021 mean to you?" Blak Business, 4 Jul. 2021, www.blakbusiness.com.au/jan-26-survey. Accessed [INSERT DATE: DAY, MONTH, YEAR].