12 Apr 2023

Indigenous Awareness: NAIDOC Week Speakers

Indigenous Awareness: NAIDOC Week Speakers




NAIDOC Week is a significant annual event that celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ history, culture, and achievements. It is a time to recognise Indigenous communities’ contributions and accomplishments and reflect on the ongoing journey towards reconciliation.

Run by the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, NAIDOC Week is a chance for each of us to honour and learn about Indigenous culture. In 2023, NAIDOC Week runs from the 2nd-9th of July.

The 2023 National NAIDOC Week theme is “For Our Elders.” This theme celebrates the crucial role Elders have played and continue to play in their communities and families across each generation.

People from all walks of life, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, celebrate NAIDOC Week. Events are held across Australia to acknowledge the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The week is an excellent opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to gain a deeper understanding of this land’s original custodians.

If you are looking to organise a NAIDOC Week event, contact us, and we can help you book a speaker that is right for your event, budget and audience.


What does NAIDOC stand for?

NAIDOC stands for ”National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee”. 

Originating in the 1920’s when Aboriginal groups began to emerge with the goal of raising awareness about the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians among the wider community.


When is NAIDOC Week?

NAIDOC week will be held from 2 – 9 July 2023.

Other important dates:

  • 13 February – Anniversary of National Apology Day
  • 16 March – National Close the Gap Day
  • 26 May – National Sorry Day
  • 27 May – 3 June – National Reconciliation Week
  • 4 August – National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day
  • 9 August – International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
  • 6 September – Indigenous Literacy Day


How to acknowledge NAIDOC Week

There are many ways to celebrate NAIDOC Week and pay our respects to the traditional custodians of our beautiful country. In line with this year’s theme, learning as much as we can about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is central to this. NAIDOC Week events are encouraged and could be organised by a workplace, school, or community. It’s important to note that permission is not required to fly either the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander flag, but is required if you are intending to reproduce either flag for any reason.

Simple things you can do include displaying the National NAIDOC poster or learning local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place names and words. Here in Melbourne for example, many people aren’t aware the area is known as Naarm in the local language, which incidentally will be the new name of the Melbourne Football Club. Making time to learn about and engage with Indigenous Australian art and history is also a great way to celebrate. One of the most important ways to acknowledge NAIDOC Week however, is by inviting Indigenous Elders and representatives to speak at your event. This could involve anything from a Welcome to Country ceremony or inspiring educational talk, to a comedy or musical performance.

There is so much the Indigenous community has to share with us this NAIDOC Week. Taking the time to centre Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices will allow us to learn not only about their rich cultural practices, beliefs and traditions, but also about our own relationships with the world around us.


NAIDOC Week Keynote Speakers

ICMI collaborates with many inspiring Indigenous Australian speakers and performers with a wealth of knowledge, stories and talents to share. Reconciliation is built on respect, and one way of showing respect is by acknowledging the deep ties that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to the land, their authority on cultural practices and through listening to Indigenous Australian speakers on how the future of reconciliation should look.


Why have an Indigenous Australian speaker at your event?

Firstly, it’s important to centre those with lived experience in any program or event about Australia’s traditional custodians. A welcome to country performed by an Indigenous Australian means you can rest easy knowing you have been formally invited to share the land your event is being held on. Nobody but an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person can perform a welcome to country, although you can perform an acknowledgement of country instead.

Many of Australia’s best known sporting personalities, for example, happen to be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background. They are invaluable speakers at events focused on sport, diversity, inclusion and are excellent Indigenous guest speakers.

Sean Choolburra, proud Girramay, Kalkadoon, Pitta Pitta and Gugu Yalanji man, is one of Australia’s most popular and versatile Indigenous Australian performers and comedians. His long-standing career in the entertainment industry has seen him perform for the likes of the Dalai Lama and Prince Charles, host his own TV series and even feature on Playschool! At the heart of all Sean does is his passion to share his culture and make people laugh. He infuses both of these elements into all of his performances to make his shows memorable, educational and unique.

Another brilliant NAIDOC Week speaker is Australian music icon and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocate Christine Anu. With a 27-year career spanning across radio, music, stage and screen, she is one of Australia’s most popular recording artists and the winner of numerous awards. A celebrated national treasure, Christine uses her voice and reputation to spread a message of unity and hope. Christine is one of ICMI’s best diversity and inclusion keynote speakers and speaks with authority and humour.

Noel Pearson of the Guugu Yimidhirr community is another prominent Indigenous speaker and activist. Noel is a lawyer, academic, and land rights advocate with a career in activism and political reform that spans decades. He is also the founder of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership, an organisation that promotes economic and social development of Cape York. Noel Pearson is a captivating speaker who has a wealth of knowledge to share about ongoing legal and political battles faced by the Indigenous community.

Professional Chef, Nornie Bero is a Torres Strait Islander woman hailing from the Komet Tribe of the Mer Island Meriam people. After working in prestigious restaurants for over 20 years in both Melbourne and London, she is more passionate than ever about sharing the ingredients she grew up with.
Whether you simply want to know more about native spices and sustainable proteins, or be further enlightened with her insights as a First Nations celebrity chef and female innovator carving her own path in the food business, Bero is sure to educate and inspire any audience.

Multi-award winning current affairs host, author and adventurer, Stan Grant is the Indigenous Affairs Editor for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Appointed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as special advisor on Indigenous constitutional recognition in 2016, Stan is passionate about justice and humanity. Above all, he believes in the power and resilience of people.


ICMI is honoured to include many Indigenous motivational speakers and inspirational Indigenous speakers.

From all of the ICMI team, we hope you celebrate NAIDOC Week in a powerful way. We hope you can join all Australians in celebrating and honouring the rich culture, history and achievements of the original custodians of this land.


Browse speakers for NAIDOC Week events Contact Us 

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