NAIDOC Week is an annual celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, recognising the history, achievements, and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This year the theme ‘For Our Elders’ – focuses on the the key role Elders play in First Nations communities and families in holding and sharing deep cultural knowledge that helps to guide and support their communities.
The influence of Elders and the knowledge they hold, helps guide generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through larger challenges and societal change, as well as with everyday life. By sharing cultural knowledge Elders support and enrich their communities connection to culture and country, strengthening wellbeing and identity. A deep connection to land, sea, culture, spirituality, family and community are important aspects of wellbeing for First Nations people, and Elders are a central part of this connection.
Digital resources can help extend the reach of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders knowledge and impact more people. Whether connecting with people in communities, or First Nations people who may be living off-Country, or disconnected from community, online tools can help share knowledge, stories and learnings for greater social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing across Australia.
‘Traditionally this knowledge is shared through our Indigenous ways of Doing, Knowing and Being. It is the sharing of stories and yarning, walking on country and learning about how to use the gifts of country like plants for food and medicine. Traditional ceremony transcends generations back to our Ancestors and maintains our strong connections to culture and country. By being around our Elders and listening to their stories, they are our generations connection to the old ways of their grandparents where traditional language and ceremony where untouched by impacts of colonisation or Stolen Generations. It’s this knowledge that is passed down through the generations for the Elders of the future to continue to pass down and that is how we are the oldest living, continuing culture in the world. Our Elders are our connections to the past, present and future and that’s why we hold them in such high value and regard.”
Online social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) resources translate Elders teachings and knowledge into digital platforms, such as apps, websites, videos and online programs. These resources can help people across Australia learn about culture and identity, spirituality, art, music and dance, languages, bush tucker, bush medicine and healing, to share stories and yarn together.
The WellMob website brings together over 300 online social and emotional wellbeing resources that make it easier to find and use digital storytelling not only as a way for people to learn more about Indigenous culture but also as a way to strengthen cultural connections of First Nations people, which we know to be a big protective factor of Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing and health.
This resource sheet offers workers easy access to the best resources for understanding the Social and Emotional Wellbeing framework and how to apply it in their work.
Get started with some resources on Culture
Here are a few resources on spirituality, art, music and dance, languages, bush tucker and bush medicine that can be found on the WellMob website.
In this video community members talk about making art at the Injalak Arts Centre. At the arts centre people come to sit down with Elders, learn and share culture.
Music and Dance
A video where people share in Djambarrpunyu (Yolgnu) language how song and dance help to keep young people on track and connected. Music is a way to pass on stories and discipline in culture.
A short video that talks about the health benefits of living off the land, traditional foods and preparation practices and important foods for mums and bubs.
Culture and Identity
These four short videos show Elder, and Associate Professor Ted Wilkes, talking about social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB). He discusses the importance of: culture, the role of men, a message for young people, and a commitment to continuing to work towards achieving good SEWB for all.
A podcast series about mental, physical and family health including yarns about community programs to help mob stay healthy. The host, Dr Danielle Arabena yarns with community leaders about various health and medicine topics including; mental health; Elders working in healthcare; domestic violence; working in prisons; and family health and wellness.