Join us in a virtual celebration to celebrate National NAIDOC Week 2021 (4–11 July 2021) across Metro North Health.

Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through an exciting schedule of films with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and community as we celebrate the National NAIDOC theme – Heal Country! and Metro North Health’s NAIDOC theme – Heal Country, Heal Health.


Sunday 4 July 2021

Welcome to Country / History of Welcome to Country

Tribal Experiences / Director of Metro North Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Team, Sherry Holzapfel

Tribal Experiences are a nationally and internationally acclaimed local Brisbane Aboriginal Traditional Owner group who perform Welcome to Country, education, tourism and cultural awareness sessions, traditional dancing and lots more, performing for international stars and major Australian companies. Join Shannon Ruska and his group as they perform a Welcome to Country and share with you some of our local history.

Hear from proud Yidinji woman and Director of Metro North Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Team, Sherry Holzapfel as she welcomes everyone to our Metro North Health 2021 Virtual NAIDOC Event. Sherry is a registered nurse and has experience in healthcare leadership, working for several Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services from Far North Queensland, Toowoomba and Brisbane regions. Her passion is working to ensure health equality is achievable by ensuring access is culturally appropriate and health care pathways are seamless for better outcomes for mob. The NAIDOC theme Heal Country is important to her as she regularly seeks her cultural grounding by going on Country for her connection to the land and waters. Sherry’s family and extend family still conducts cultural practices through song and dance, seeks the natural habits for hunting and gathering traditional foods that is shared among her Elders and families.

Talking about Welcome to Country

Shannon Ruska, Tribal Experiences

Join local Traditional Owner and cultural delivery specialist Shannon Ruska from Tribal Experiences as he provides history, knowledge and education of ‘Welcome to Country’ and the significance of this practice for Aboriginal people.

Since he was 8 years old Shannon Ruska has been living the dream of bringing culture alive. His father and many Aboriginal Uncles and Aunties over the years have instilled his heritage into his heart and soul which he now uses to educate, share, entertain and pass on to future generations, the stories and culture of Aboriginal people, one of the oldest cultures in the world.

Naidoc 2021

Monday 5 July 2021

Cultural session with Torres Strait Islander Elder

Talking weaving with Uncle Brian Whap

Enjoy listening to Mabuiag Island, Torres Strait Islander Elder and Cultural tutor from Ngutana-Lui Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies Centre, Uncle Brian Whap as he shares his wide knowledge and cultural practices of weaving and use of natural resources and teaches us how he heals by staying connected to Country while living away from his island home.

Didgeridoo playing

Thomas Coghill, Tribal Experiences

Be captivated by the hypnotising sounds of Yugera man Thomas Coghill playing one of the oldest and sacred instruments, the didgeridoo. Thomas performs on the didgeridoo with Tribal Experiences and shares some of the culture and history around the traditional musical instrument.

The didgeridoo can be used in cultural ceremonies, practices and performances assisting in sharing stories of the land, animals, dreamtime and culture that are passed down through generations of Aboriginal families.

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Walking the Nudgee Waterholes

Nyanda Cultural Tours

Learn about the local history of Nudgee and importance of being on Country with Madonna Thompson from Nyanda Cultural Tours as she talks about how gender plays a role in our healing and the importance of healing from our past. Madonna takes us on a tour of Nudgee Reserve and shares local traditional medicines and the importance of caring for Country which in return nourishes us.

Nyanda Cultural Tours are based at Banyo on Brisbane’s Northside and provide cultural tours and experiences, developed by Jagera Daran, a long established 100% Aboriginal owned and operated cultural heritage consultancy in South East Queensland. Director, Madonna Thomson is the grandniece of the late Senator Neville Bonner, the first Aboriginal person in Federal Parliament, representing Queensland as a Liberal Party Senator from 1971 to 1983.

Connecting to Culture

Uncle Horace Nona, Metro North Health Cultural Capability Officer

In this film Badu Island Elder, Uncle Horace Nona shares the value of connecting with Country and how he keeps connected to his island home in the Torres Strait. He shares with us the importance of supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people travelling to Brisbane for health issues to still feel connected to their own communities during their healing journey.

Wednesday 7 July 2021

Yarning with Elders

Local First Nations Elders

The theme for this year’s National NAIDOC is Heal Country which calls for all of us to continue seeking greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction. Country is important to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who hold a spiritual, cultural, emotional and physical connection to country. It is not just a place, it is home, it is life, it is family, it is lore. We use country to heal and connect with our family and culture. Our country is sacred.

Hear from local First Nations Elders as they yarn and share stories about their history and work within the community.

Torres Strait Islander Blessing Song

Performed by Uncle Brian Whap and Aunty Matilda Bani

Connect with a piece of Torres Strait Islander culture and tradition shared by respected Elders.

Listen to the amazing Kuyku Garka blessing song of thanksgiving from their island home of Mabuiag Island in the Torres Strait, performed by Uncle Brian and Aunty Matilda in their traditional Kala Lagaw Ya language.

Naidoc 2021
Naidoc 2021

Thursday 8 July 2021

Connection to Culture and Healing

Uncle Anthony Newcastle and Koobara Kindy

Natjul performer, Uncle Anthony and Koobara Kindy staff and jarjums join together to deliver cultural learning and education with fun activities for the whole family.

Listen to Uncle Anthony and Koobara Kindy staff as they yarn about connecting to culture and Country and how connection is important for the healing journey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Singing by Torres Strait Islander Musician

Likiki Millett

Enjoy the singing talents of talented Torres Strait Islander man Likiki Millett. Likiki was born on Thursday Island and raised in Brisbane with blood line of Wakaid and Wagadagam in the Torres Strait. Like many families, he is blessed with many branches in his family lineage. The young Torres Strait Islander man is a talented musician and actor and enjoys sharing his talents with family, friends and community. Likiki is excited for the opportunity to partner with Metro North Health NAIDOC celebrations to share in song and connect with community via the virtual NAIDOC event to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

Friday 9 July 2021

Torres Strait Islander connection to Country

Elders Uncle Brian Whap and Aunty Matilda Bani

Being away from Country can be challenging for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We can feel a loss of connection, loss of identity, loss of culture and family, a feeling of yearning and sadness.

Uncle Brian and Aunty Matilda share how they maintain connection to Country, culture and family while living away from their island home of Mabuiag in the Torres Strait and how they help their families in Brisbane and local community members connected to Country and home in the Torres Strait Islands.

Dancing on Country

Tribal Experiences

Traditional Aboriginal dancing has been part of Aboriginal culture for thousands of years. Dancing is performed as part of sharing stories, ceremonial practices including weddings, funerals, initiations, men’s and women’s business, and plays an important role in the spirituality of tribes which each tribe having different customs.

Dancing tells stories of the land, animals, dreamtime and culture that are passed down through generations of Aboriginal families.

Connect with Aboriginal culture by watching the traditional dancing performed by Tribal Experiences who share local stories and culture through their dancing.

Saturday 10 July 2021

Commitment of support by community and Metro North Health staff towards ‘Heal Country, Heal Health’

Local community and Metro North Health Staff / Song performance by Likiki Millett

A wide range of local community members and Metro North Health staff have joined together in this special video montage to show their support of this year’s National NAIDOC theme Heal Country and Metro North Health’s extension of this theme Heal Country, Heal Health.

We invite you to reflect on the importance of protecting our sacred land, and the enormous role and healing powers Country has for its people.

Enjoy watching this montage which is accompanied by the singing talents of Thursday Island born man Likiki Millett with blood line of Wakaid and Wagadagam in the Torres Strait.

Naidoc 2021
Health Country