Celebrating NAIDOC week

July 4-11 is NAIDOC week and this year’s theme is ‘Heal Country!’. Here, Coles team members share the special meanings this has for them.

Staff working at Coles

After celebrations were cancelled last year due to Covid-19, NAIDOC Week is back in 2021. Running from 4-11 July, the national festival is an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate the cultures, histories and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

This year’s theme is ‘Heal Country!’. It’s a reminder that Country is more than just a place to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples – it’s inherent to their identities. 

We spoke to Coles team members about what NAIDOC Week and this year’s theme means to them. For more information, go to naidoc.org.au.

Jasmine, Coles Indigenous Affairs Advisor, Queensland: 

A Wakka Wakka woman from South Burnett, Qld, Jasmine has been working at Coles for 25 years. She’s recently been appointed the Indigenous Affairs Advisor for Queensland.

This role allows Jasmine to help Coles stores embrace diversity through initiatives like NAIDOC Week. “NAIDOC Week allows us to celebrate our histories and cultures,” she says. “Each Coles store I’ve worked in has a great community presence,” Jasmine adds. “‘Heal Country!’ reminds me to give back to the earth and sea what we take from them. We can do this by thinking about how we can be more sustainable every day.”

Jasmine, Coles Indigenous Affairs Advisor

Karene, Officer In-Charge, Logan Central, Queensland: 

“My Coles team members are like family,” says Karene, a Ngiyampaa woman from NSW. “Around my store is a large Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, which has allowed me to connect with some of the Elders in our community.” 

Karene loves that this community spirit and culture is celebrated throughout NAIDOC Week. “It’s embraced in our store and our community,” she says. “We show our respect through inclusiveness in our celebrations.”

To Karene, this year’s theme is about bringing all Australians together to celebrate Indigenous Australian culture. “It means educating others and respecting our First Nations People,” she says.

Karene from Logan Central, Officer In-Charge

Mohnte, Deli department, New Farm, Queensland: 

Through working at Coles, Mohnte, a St Paul’s man from Moa Island in the Torres Strait, likes that he’s able to help reduce waste by giving to national food relief charity SecondBite. “‘Heal Country!’ means looking after our land,” says Mohnte. “It also helps me to reconnect with family and culture, as well as looking after my spirit and wellbeing.” 

To Mohnte, NAIDOC Week is a chance for Coles customers to understand Indigenous Australians. “I love working with a diverse group of people,” he says. “I’d like customers to know more about our People. Being different is okay – it’s what makes this country.” 

Mohnte from Deli department