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This week marks the annual National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ celebrations of history, culture and achievement – NAIDOC Week.

This year’s NAIDOC theme – Heal Country – calls for all of us to continue to seek greater protections for First Nations lands, waters, sacred sites and to protect their cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.

Heal Country is not simply a call to embrace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s cultural knowledge and practices to heal our physical environment. It is also a call to reflect on the history of dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and resolve injustices which still impact people today.

Just as MIPA (Meaningful Involvement of People with HIV/AIDS) aims to centre the meaningful involvement of people living with HIV in the HIV response, Heal Country foregrounds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ right to meaningfully participate in economic, environmental, social and political arenas as respected equals, with respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and knowledge.

For the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of this country, Country is more than a place and inherent to their identity. It’s also connected and extended to the person and speaks to every aspect of their being – spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially and culturally.

As Living Positive Victoria embarks on the development of a Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan this year, we endeavour to hold true to the values of healing Country, working meaningfully with Aboriginal community members to ensure culturally safe services for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and members.

We invite you to join us in celebrating NAIDOC by learning more about the Country on which you live and learning more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history by following #HealCountry #NAIDOCWeek #NAIDOC2021