The theme of this year's NAIDOC Week is Heal Country. The NAIDOC web site describes is in this way:
The NAIDOC 2021 theme – Heal Country! – calls for all of us to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.
Country that is more than a place and inherent to our identity.
Country that we speak about like a person, sustaining our lives in every aspect - spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, and culturally.
NAIDOC 2021 invites the nation to embrace First Nations’ cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia's national heritage and equally respect the culture and values of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders as they do the cultures and values of all Australians.
For generations we have been calling for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of our culture and heritage.
We are still waiting for those robust protections.
This year’s theme also seeks substantive institutional, structural, and collaborative reform – something generations of our Elders and communities have been advocating, marching and fighting for.
Healing Country means finally resolving many of the outstanding injustices which impact on the lives of our people.
It is about hearing and actioning the aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples which are the culmination of generations of consultation and discussions among our nations on a range of issues and grievances.
In a way, this description is confusing because it mixes together a number of different things. In this post, I want to concentrate one thing, the sense of Country.