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NAIDOC awards announced

Posted on: 19 July, 2010
Issue: Vol 10 No 3, July 2010 - September 2010
Related to Cultural ways

NAIDOC is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions of Indigenous Australians in various fields. NAIDOC stands for the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee. Activities take place across the nation during NAIDOC Week in the first full week of July, which this year was 4 – 11 July. All Australians are encouraged to participate in NAIDOC activities.

The 2010 NAIDOC theme was ‘Unsung heroes – Closing the Gap by leading their way’. Many unsung Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have made huge contributions to Australian society, both now and in the past. These ‘unsung heroes’ lead by taking their own paths, and in doing so, help other Indigenous people set their own direction for the future. The theme emphasises Indigenous ownership of ‘closing the gap’, including the gap in health expectancy, but also the gaps in knowledge and understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

At the end of every NAIDOC Week, the National NAIDOC Awards are announced at a ceremony and ball held in the national focus city. This year the NAIDOC ball took place on 9 July in Melbourne. The annual awards recognise the outstanding contributions that Indigenous Australians make to improve the lives of Indigenous people in their communities and beyond; to promote Indigenous issues in the wider community; or the excellence they have shown in a specific field. There are awards in ten different categories, covering a diverse range of fields and talents.

The committee awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award to Vince Coulthard for his eminent leadership in Indigenous affairs, his dedication to promoting his culture and his contribution to the struggle for native title rights in South Australia.

Other 2010 National NAIDOC Award winners were:

  • Person of the Year: Dennis Eggington (Perth)
  • Caring for Country Award: Yellow Crazy Ant Management Program (Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory)
  • Elder of the Year (Female): Aunty Ali Golding (Sydney)
  • Elder of the Year (Male): Ali Drummond (Brisbane) and Lester Bostock (Sydney) – joint winners. The quality of nominations was so high that the committee had to choose two winners for the Male Elder of the Year Award.
  • Youth of the Year: Jessica Smith (Brisbane)
  • Scholar of the Year: Megan Davis (Sydney)
  • Apprentice of the Year: Lucas Kickett (Perth)
  • Artist of the Year: Lewis Langton (Canberra)
  • Sportsperson of the Year: Rohanee Cox (Townsville)

Vince Coulthard was presented with his award by the Honourable Jenny Macklin MP, Federal Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Other distinguished guests included key members of the newly established Indigenous representative body, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and the Honourable Richard Wynne MP, Victorian Minister for Housing, Local Government and Aboriginal Affairs.

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