Alcoa employees across Australia proudly celebrated the history and culture of Australia’s traditional owners, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, at NAIDOC Week events in November.
Activities hosted across Alcoa’s Australian sites included Aboriginal flag raising and Welcome to Country ceremonies, traditional dancing and storytelling, Indigenous-inspired food being served at canteens, and cultural awareness training. Company representatives also attended a range of community celebrations.
The theme for 2020 – Always Was, Always Will Be – acknowledged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ 65,000-year-old history and the oldest continuing cultures on the planet.
Alcoa’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Champion Adam Gilbert said it was pleasing to see NAIDOC Week being increasingly celebrated by Australians from all walks of life.
“By celebrating NAIDOC Week at our sites and in nearby communities, we are proud to provide an opportunity for people to learn about and from our First Nations people,” Mr Gilbert said.
“It is a privilege to advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples not only during NAIDOC Week but at all times of the year, to foster knowledge, acceptance and respect of their history and culture and the value they contribute to society.”
Mr Gilbert said celebrating NAIDOC Week across the company’s two bauxite mines and three alumina refineries in WA, its Portland Aluminium smelter in Victoria, plus two other decommissioned Victorian sites, was a commitment the company had made under its first Reconciliation Action Plan, published at the start of this year.
“Under our Reconciliation Action Plan, we are committed to enhancing relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, respecting their cultural and history and providing opportunities for equal participation, particularly through employment and procurement,” Mr Gilbert said.
NAIDOC Week is usually celebrated across Australia in July but was moved to November this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’, a group charged with organising annual celebrations. The acronym has since become the name of the week itself.