It’s NAIDOC week 2021 – an opportunity to celebrate First Nations history, cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of our national heritage.

Desmond Campbell (Gojok), wants to share his inspiring thoughts on this year’s theme, ‘Heal Country’, and explore how we can come together to overcome some of the big issues in the spirit of healing, hope and love.

My name is Gojok or people mostly know me as Desmond. My name, Gojok, comes from the Nglakan people of South East Arnhem Land in a place called Ngukurr where the mighty Roper River flows. This years theme of NAIDOC Week is ‘Heal Country’. When I think about what this theme means to me I think of the mighty Roper River. A river that has provided nourishing goodness for hundreds of thousands of years to the local custodians who in return protect and respect it. It’s a river that has shown it will provide life but through it’s gushing flooding and mighty saltwater crocodiles, can easily take life if not respected. It’s a balance that not only the local custodians need to respect but everyone. 

The Indigenous and LGBTIQ+ communities have a common shared history of discrimination but also achievement. Let’s come together and continue achieving and Heal Country together in solidarity.

The biggest issue facing our LGBTQI+ First Nations communities is not being accepted by the wider community for our unique and diverse historic and contemporary cultural heritage. Our cultural practices continue in many amazing forms in the LGBTQI+ First Nations communities and it’s inspiring and beautiful. 

Stop being scared of something or someone different. We are all different but together we can be ordinarily happy. 

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras acknowledges the Gadigal people, who are the traditional owners of the land on which our work is held on. Always was, always will be Aboriginal Land.