June 25, 2021

NAIDOC Week: Heal Country

NAIDOC Week recognises the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This year, NAIDOC Week will be celebrated from 4 to 11 July, with the highly topical theme of ‘Heal Country’. It calls for all of us to continue to seek greater protection for our lands, waters, sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration and destruction.

The highlight of our NAIDOC Week celebrations at Northern Health is a virtual session with Nova Peris OAM. Over the past three decades, barely a year has passed where Nova has not displayed excellence in some area of her life. She has rarely stood still, always determined to educate and re-educate, in order to give herself the best possible opportunity to not only develop her own prospects in life, but, equally as importantly, those of her people throughout Australia and the Torres Strait Islands.

Nova was a trailblazer in her sporting pursuits, competing at Olympic level in two sports while juggling the demanding role of being a young mother. Then, post her sporting career, she smashed through another glass ceiling by becoming the first Aboriginal woman elected to Federal Parliament.

Since the mid-1990s, Nova has spoken regularly on the plights facing Aboriginal people and has visited hundreds of communities throughout Australia to gain as much of an insight as possible into the issues facing people from all walks of life.

Nova will join us from Darwin via MS Teams on Wednesday, 7 July at 12 pm – 1 pm.

Also as part of NAIDOC Week, Dr Angela Dos Santos and Dr Graham Gee will speak at a virtual Grand Round on Thursday, 1 July at 8 am – 9 am.

Dr Dos Santos is a Neurologist at Royal Melbourne Hospital and is a proud Gumbaynggirr and Kwiamble woman. After graduating from the Western Sydney University in 2011 and completing neurology training and her stroke fellowship at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Angela became the first and only Aboriginal neurologist.

She is also a stroke physician at the Royal Melbourne and Alfred hospitals and for the Victorian Stroke Telehealth Network. She teaches First Nations Health to medical students at the University of Melbourne and works at outreach neurology clinics in both Alice Springs and Darwin. Dr Dos Santos works as a Senior Clinical Research Fellow for the Australian Stroke Alliance and is currently completing her PhD at the University of Melbourne.

Dr Graham Gee is originally from Darwin. His Aboriginal-Chinese grandfather was born near Belyuen in Northern Territory, his grandmother is from the Barkly Tablelands in Queensland and the Northern Territory and his maternal heritage is Celtic.

He is a Clinical Psychologist and a Senior Research Fellow at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. His research focuses on Aboriginal mental health, social and emotional wellbeing and healing and recovery from trauma. For 10 years up until 2018, Dr Gee was employed as a Psychologist and a Clinical Coordinator at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service.

Continuing on the theme ‘Heal Country’, Narrun Wilip-Giin, Aboriginal Support Unit, has put together a quiz that will test your knowledge and reward you with exciting prizes.

Before that, we invite you to read up on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been caring for country for many thousands of years by clicking here.

To watch Nova’s broadcast on Wednesday, 7 July at 12 pm, please click here.

Click here for the Grand Round presentation featuring Dr Graham Gee and Dr Angela Dos Santos on Thursday, 1 July at 8 am. 

Click here for the NAIDOC Week quiz.

For more information, visit our NAIDOC Week intranet page.

Featured image (left to right): Nova Peris OAM, Dr Graham Gee and Dr Angela Dos Santos

Northern Health acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which Northern Health’s campuses are built, the Wurundjeri people, and pay our respects to Elders past and present.