“Hi, my name is Mark Richards, and I am the EyrePlus representative for Ceduna NAIDOC 2021.

I am a Bungala Gubrun Wirangu Norwegian man. I am from the goldfields of Western Australia, and I have been living in Ceduna for the past 25 years.

NAIDOC Week means a lot to me as an Indigenous man. It gives us a chance as First Nations people to celebrate our culture’s survival and history.

What does it really mean to Heal Country?

Country to me means a lot of things.

Going back to your roots, back to your Country, back to what makes you whole.

When Country is not looked after, what happens to the communities of the people who rely on Country?

For people who do not know what it is like to be off Country, it is like a part of you is missing, like a part of you has been amputated, and you do not feel truly whole until your feet are back on the soil of your ancestors.

So, what does Heal Country mean to me?

It means to heal your family, heal your people, heal your community, and heal your soul. Without Country, we are nothing. Everything flows from Country.

When you connect to Country, you connect to your ancestors, your history, your spirit, your dreaming. I am proud to be an Indigenous Australian. It has not always been this way.

But we as Australians must come together as one.

Not divided along colour, racial or stereotypical lines but together as a people who understand that when you heal the Country, you heal the heart of a nation.”

Mark Richards
Employment Consultant – EyrePlus

2021 NAIDOC Week

The NAIDOC 2021 theme – Heal Country! – calls for all of us to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.

Country that is more than a place and inherent to our identity.

Country that we speak about like a person, sustaining our lives in every aspect – spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, and culturally.

NAIDOC 2021 invites the nation to embrace First Nations’ cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia’s national heritage and equally respect the culture and values of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders as they do the cultures and values of all Australians.