NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This years theme, Always Was, Always Will Be, recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
NAIDOC Week is personal to us. At FDC, we’re passionate about the role we play in celebrating our Australian culture and are committed to achieving reconciliation. Below, two talented FDC team members share their stories of what it means to be Indigenous.
It’s about seeing, hearing and learning from our Indigenous team members, family and community that will allows us to celebrate one of the oldest continuing cultures on the planet.
Aidan Murphy is an apprentice carpenter at FDC and an advocate for Indigenous rights.
I’m just one of the many Australians who didn’t discover their Aboriginal ancestry until later in life. There are so many families torn apart as a result of the Stolen Generation. It was only when we did a DNA test to discover more about our heritage that we found out my great-grandfather on my mum’s side was Aboriginal, and suddenly, that incredibly dark part of Australian history became my history too.
I remember when I first heard the news we were Indigenous. I was just hanging out at home and it was pretty hard to comprehend at the time. But after that, we became more involved in the community, and I enrolled in the NRL School to Work Indigenous program.
They were the ones who gave me the contacts at FDC, where I’ve been working for about three-and-a-half-years now. I started as a cadet in 2017 and in 2019 I became an apprentice carpenter. One of the things I enjoy most about working at FDC is the culture; how accepting of me they were when I started, and how much it now feels like a family.
Standing up for a cause
My family is active in the Aboriginal community, and in many ways, it’s brought us closer together. We’ve been involved with Cheree Toka’s campaign to have the Aboriginal flag flown on the Harbour Bridge 365 days per year, and for two years in a row we’ve marched across the bridge for the cause.
At present, the flag is flown only 19 days a year, which is shocking. The Australian flag is flown every day of the year along with the state flag, but not the Aboriginal flag. It doesn’t make sense. Flying the Aboriginal flag permanently would be symbolic of the history of Australia before European arrival and settlement. It would acknowledge support for all Australians to be proud of Aboriginal history and culture. It’s about being recognised as a people.
Always was, Always will be
One of the reasons NAIDOC Week is so important to me is because it’s about acknowledging our culture and history and having respect for it. It’s hard not to feel down sometimes. Being Indigenous, you do get put down quite a bit. I just wish our heritage was more celebrated in the community.
I’m incredibly proud of my Indigenous heritage. We’re one of the oldest races in the world and we have such a rich history. It’s important to never forget who the traditional custodians of the land are, and to never forget our history. No matter how far into the future we go, we need to always be able to look back and see where we started from. Think about who we are and what we’re capable of. Give Indigenous people a chance and take us at more than just face value. One of the most powerful things people can do is to be more accepting.