Artwork by Emma MacNeill @charliwanti (shared with permission)
NAIDOC Week, which stands for “National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee”, runs from 8-15 July this year.
Though non-indigenous people are encouraged to celebrate and participate in many of the events, the week is first and foremost for Aboriginal and Islander peoples.
To learn more about the week click here and to get some ideas on how to be a good ally during NAIDOC week and long after it’s over, the equality institute have put together some ideas which you can see by clicking here.
This year’s NAIDOC week theme is:
“Because of her, we can!”
It celebrates the essential role that Aboriginal and Islander women have played – and continue to play- as active and significant role models at the community, local, state and national levels.
And with that theme in mind, I wanted to share 11 Aboriginal and Islander women that I follow on Instagram that I think you should follow too!
Youth Leader + Model + Artist
Aretha is the current Prime Minister of the National Indigenous Youth Parliament. She personally caught my attention in 2017 when at age 16 she spoke powerfully at the Invasion Day Rally. I’m not a huge fan of the word “fierce” but I really can’t describe Aretha’s Instagram as much else. Aretha is artistic (her artist page can be seen here ) unapologetic and confident. On her page she frequently writes long insightful comments under photos, Insta Stories fashion shoots, and just to remind you that she’s only 17 and killing it (and that I’m not 17 nor killin’ in) she posts her hanging out with her friends.
Artist + Mum Blogger
Emma is a Northern based Indigenous artist with a very vibrant and active life. Her Instagram stories often show her navigating motherhood, training for football (AFL), and painting her traditional dot paintings that frequently include illustrations based on environment, maternal bonds and sisterhood (her art page can be seen here.) Emma is a very hands on mother to her children, Chance and Charli. The importance of “keeping culture alive” is of high priority to Emma and her instagram stories often display her children learning their traditional language, partaking in traditions like dance, and also connecting with nature and extended family.
Activist + Writer
If you want to follow a woman on the front line of Aboriginal + Islander activism, Tarneen is the one. She’s an intersectional feminist with a strong activist bloodline, and she’s never afraid to call it exactly how she sees it. She writes frequently about Indigenous issues and she’s a member of the Koorie Youth Council and Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance. As recently as 3 weeks ago, Tarneen was part of sit in protest group established to protect sacred 800 year old Djapwurrung trees which she posted about often on Instagram. And on a totally superficial note (people this is an instragram list, chill out) she also takes a killer selfie!
Singer + Musican
Thelma is the black, assertive, don’t-need-no-man, version of Snow White. Actually Snow White and Thelma couldn’t be more different, but I draw parallels because they both have singing voices that mesmerise animals. Genuinely. Thelma often treats her followers to her stunning voice and animals sincerely want to be around her! (I love Dolly the rabbit!) Thelma is effortlessly “cool” and her Instragam is a pure delight. Thelma also isn’t afraid to use her platform to call out racism and sexism especially in the music industry.
Internet + TV Writer
Nayuka was once accurately referred to as “the black Judith Lucy” and is arguably the funniest person I follow on Instagram. Actually, there’s no argument. She’s the funniest. Nayuka is also a talented writer and shares her thoughts and political commentary frequently on her page. Nayuka is queer and proud, and describes herself as “extremely sensual” so her Insta Stories are often hot, hot, hot! What’s more, she’s a kick arse dog parent too.
Shelley Ware + Leila Gurruwiwi
TV Presenters + Media Personalities + Sports Lovers
Shelley and Leila have been presenters on the most intersectional football show on television (Marngrook) for the past decade – including a time when women weren’t really seen or heard in AFL let alone two aboriginal women. Their instagram pages are unsurprisingly rich in cultural pride and football. Following their Instagram pages is like having a backstage pass to meet the AFL stars! (with a hint of Shelley’s kids… and a dash of Leila’s cat and dog!)
Tonight @alielmg and I will host the @marngrookfooty show together. I wanted to pay tribute to this wonderful woman. I’ve watched her grow up before my eyes and have been proud to share in her journey. Looking forward to sharing the desk with you to celebrate NAIDOC WEEK. #becauseofherwecan #nitv #marngrook #happyNAIDOC
Kirsty Dickinson (Haus of Dizzy)
Kirsty is an extremely popular contemporary jewellery designer who makes bold earrings with striking designs. Kirsty isn’t afraid of infusing politics and fashion, often showcasing earrings that give light to Aboriginality, LGBTQI+ pride, and feminism. Her Instagram page has certainly had an impact on me as I own more Haus of Dizzy earrings than I’m willing to admit.
Actor + Writer + Podcaster
Nakkiah is a prominent young leader in the Aboriginal community. She’s also an actor and writer for such programs as the hit show Black Comedy. Nakkiah also co-hosts the podcast Pretty For An Aboriginal with actress, Miranda Tapsell –which I strongly recommend listening to! Nakkiah’s Instagram is a mix of all the things she’s well loved for like her brilliant (even poetic) writing, her cultural pride and her interesting and adventurous life style. She’s also an advocate for body positivity and (to quote her Instagram Story today) she’s interested in “breaking down beauty standards and binaries around acceptable bodies”
So thrilled I’m in The View in JONES mag this month! Totally bringing boss femme power realness in @carlazampatti! It’s an amazing issue (go out and grab it – and have a shop at DJ’s) and I’m very privileged to amongst the likes of @margaret__zhang @kakenyasdream @drbronking @pollys_1111 Thank you to @justinridler and @jones.official for the amazing shot! #jonesedit #davidjones
Singer + Popular Personality
Casey is a singer, theatre actress, author and very popular Australian personality. She’s been on the reality TV shows Australian Idol (2004) and I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! (2017) in which she won both! Despite being someone that brushes shoulders with celebs and walks red carpets, Casey is very down to earth and her charismatic nature makes her Instagram a truly fun time. There’s definitely a reason why she won Australia’s popular vote twice!
What would an Instagram list be without a full-time model?! And Sam Harris is one of the most prominent aboriginal models in the world right now (and not “Instagram model” like proper model-model. Legit!) Samantha’s Instagram is chock-a-block full of images to conjure up some I-want-her-life feelings, but she isn’t just a commercially pretty face; Sam has been know to call out trolls and talk openly about diversity and better representation in the fashion Industry.