This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is ‘Heal Country!’
‘Country’ has so many meanings to many different people. For myself, Country is not just a place, it is a connection and calling that keeps me connected to my roots, culture and family.
My traditional ‘Country’ is nestled in the tropical rainforest of Far North Queensland on Kuku Yalanji land that will always be a part of me. When we speak of ‘Country’, this not only includes the land, but the sea, reef beds, riverways, sky, mountain ranges, animals, plants and people, and so on.
My ‘Country’ is my life force and the centre of my upbringing and holds a special place in my heart. I have been brought up on Country and know that I will return to my homelands once I have given my four sons and myself better schooling and work opportunities in South East Queensland.
Through reflection on the NAIDOC Week theme ‘Heal Country!’, we have the opportunity to take a moment to reflect on the importance of our great nation and the state of the respective First Nation’s Country that we live on.
We can all play a part in working together to heal this great land. We can also reflect on healing together as members of a Diocesan community and of a broader nation through a whole range of ways that include:
- Prayer, which is the ultimate way that I feel we can help heal our nation. God has created every part of each Country within our shared nation and only He can make it whole and new again. In our quiet time we can take a minute to say a prayer for the Country we live on and the people who are here to look after it.
- Implementing First Nations land management principles and practices in consultation with local Elders and Traditional Owners. For example, First Nations groups have been conducting burn-offs throughout the land we now call Australia for thousands of years, giving the land the opportunity to renew itself naturally.
- Coming together as Australians and respecting each other for our customs and beliefs, which our land will feel and benefit physically from. In turn, we will benefit spiritually.
Editor’s note 1/07/2021: For NAIDOC Week liturgical resources, please visit PMC’s faithful + effective website.