A week to embrace our country's history and First Nations people

NAIDOC 2020 invites all Australians to embrace the true history of this country – a history which dates back thousands of generations.

The theme for this year is Always Was, Always Will Be, which recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this land for over 65,000 years.

I am not of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. In 1979, my parents immigrated from South Africa to Australia because they whole-heartedly disagreed with Apartheid (a system of institutionalised racial segregation) and longed to raise their family in a country that did not impose such policies.

As an adult, I now see the irony; in South Africa, the policies, cultural destruction and persecution were "obvious" compared to Australia.

However, the absence of something wrong does not mean something is right.

Even if we cannot change the past, we cannot ignore it's devastating effects on this country's First Nations People.

Avoidance or ignoring is never an effective strategy. Compassion for culture, compassion for community, and compassion for this country are necessary to connect us, celebrate and change how our First Nations people are experienced and how our future on this land can be weaved.

For more information on NAIDOC Week 2020, please visit: https://www.naidoc.org.au/get-involved/2020-theme

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, which became the title for the whole week, not just the day. Each year, a theme is chosen to reflect the important issues and events for NAIDOC Week.