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The SANE Blog

NAIDOC Week 2023

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This week, SANE is celebrating the strength and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We acknowledge the profound and long-term connection they have with the land and water around us, and recognise the immense history, culture and knowledge they bring and generously share with us all.

While NAIDOC week is a celebration, we must not turn our backs on the centuries of dispossession, discrimination and marginalisation that Indigenous Australians have endured.

As a nation we are now standing at a pivotal moment in history where we have the opportunity to take meaningful steps towards reconciliation and social justice. By acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s rights to equality and self-determination we can foster healing and reconciliation.

SANE is proud to support the constitutional establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament. SANE staff, volunteers and supporters walk alongside First Nations People in this journey and throw our support behind activities that heal historical wounds and address the intergenerational trauma that has resulted from colonisation.

Recently, SANE staff was privileged to participate in smoking ceremonies and yarning circles.

With the gentle guidance of local Wurundjeri and Gadigal Elders, we explored the barriers faced by First Nations people and the importance of empathy and understanding. We listened to personal stories of resilience, healing and what it means to be on country. We learnt about the impact of structural, systemic, and individual racism and the significance of storytelling, cultural knowledge, and community engagement in healing.

The experience provided us with a valuable opportunity to reflect on how we can support reconciliation at an individual and organisational level and reinforced the importance of committing to meaningful action.

We’re delighted to announce that SANE has established a formal Reconciliation Action Plan Committee. Chaired by Mr Tom Brideson, proud Kamilaroi/Gomeroi man and highly respected leader in the mental health sector, this Committee will support SANE to build culturally supportive programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, including the development of an Aboriginal Workforce Strategy.

As part of this commitment, SANE has commissioned a beautiful RAP artwork by artist Kelly Marie Taylor (Yankunytjatjara/Kokatha Descendant) which we are excited to be launching soon.

SANE is also proud to be a signatory to the Gayaa Dhuwi Declaration with the goal of embedding the social, emotional and wellbeing principles outlined by Proud Spirit into all SANE programs and activities.

So, this week, let’s join together to joyfully recognise the enormous contribution that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community have made to our country and to the world. But while we celebrate, we must also recognise the urgent need for improved human rights, self-determination and reconciliation. Together we can forge a future where healing, justice and unity are paramount, creating a stronger and more inclusive country for us all.

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