NAIDOC Week women get behind Heal Country theme


This NAIDOC Week, Women on Boards celebrates the achievements of three remarkable women who have contributed their time and talents to the NAIDOC Week celebrations, including two new appointments to the National NAIDOC Committee (NNC).


While the recent COVID outbreaks may have put the much-anticipated National NAIDOC awards ceremony on hold, NAIDOC Week is still being celebrated from 4-11 July.

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The NNC is a voluntary committee independent of Government and makes key decisions on National NAIDOC,  including the dates and national theme for the week-long celebrations, the selection of the National NAIDOC Award recipients and working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations and key stakeholders to help build on the success of NAIDOC Week. Members are appointed for a term of three years following a public expression of interest process.

Shannan Dodson 

Earlier this year Yawary woman Shannan Dodson was appointed the new Co-Chair of the NNC. Ms Dodson succeeds Patricia Thompson who stepped down from the role due to family commitments.

Born in Katherine in the Northern Territory and currently living in Sydney, Ms Dodson has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs for over 16 years and as a strategic communications and engagement specialist.

Ms Dodson was appointed to the NNC in 2017 and will serve an initial three-year term as Co-Chair.

Michelle Tuahine

First Nations media veteran Michelle Tuahine was also appointed to the NNC. A proud descendant of the Gangulu people of Central Queensland and Ngāti Kahungunu iwi of New Zealand’s North Island, Ms Tuahine is a veteran of Indigenous media having worked in the 1990s with ABC Television and in the mid-2000s with NITV, SBS and the National Indigenous Radio Service.

For almost a decade, Ms Tuahine served as a member of the Indigenous Advisory Group for the Brisbane Festival – Queensland’s largest arts and culture event.

Since 2018, she has been the Chair of the festival’s IAG. That year she also became the first Indigenous board member of not-for-profit organisation Flying Arts.

‘NAIDOC Week inspires me to celebrate, commemorate, and give thanks for the strength and legacy of those who have gone before us, and reminds me of the freedoms hard fought for us to enjoy,’ Ms Tuahine said.

Maggie-Jean Douglas

Meanwhile, Gubbi Gubbi artist Maggie-Jean Douglas has won the 2021 National NAIDOC Poster competition from a record 260 entries.

Ms Douglas describes herself as ‘a proud murri’. Her mob is Gubbi Gubbi from the Sunshine Coast region of Queensland though she grew up on Goreng Goreng Country and has been living on Ngunnawal Country for the past three years.

She entered the competition for the first time this year as she “felt really strongly about the theme and what it represents for our community.”

Her artwork, Care for Country, is about how Country has cared for and healed First Nations people in all senses of the meaning for so long.

“I think the past few years have felt particularly draining for our community and I agree that it’s time for healing and repairing,” she said.

Her bright and vibrant artwork includes the different colours of landscapes around Australia to show how “they come together in our beautiful country and to make people feel hopeful for the future.”

Download your copy of the 2021 National NAIDOC Week poster and banners. Free printed copies will be available through the National Indigenous Australians Agency’s regional network

About NAIDOC Week

Celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life  NAIDOC week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

After the cancellation of the National NAIDOC Awards 2021 in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) the National NAIDOC Committee were working towards a gala awards ceremony at Sydney Opera House on Saturday 3 July. But due to increasing health risk, the board decided to postpone this ceremony.

“Restrictions on travellers returning from NSW and Greater Sydney meant that most NNC members, all award finalists and most of our performers could not attend the awards without a 14-day quarantine on their return,” the board said in a statement.

For 20 tips on how to celebrate NAIDOC Week click HERE or visit

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