As many Australians are well aware, we are currently in the middle of our annual NAIDOC Week - a nationally recognised time to celebrate the achievements of our First Nation’s people, their culture and reflect upon their history.
The overarching theme for NAIDOC Week this year is “Heal Country!”, whereby the NAIDOC Organisation says it means “…hearing those pleas to provide greater management, involvement, and empowerment by Indigenous peoples over country”.
However, after some rattling news making headlines yesterday, it appears that this theme is riddled with irony and deep shame for non-First Nations Australians.
Watch: Indigenous lives matter. Post continues below.
On Tuesday evening, the COVID-19 task force gathered to discuss all further handling of the pandemic, as it rears its ugly (and highly contagious) head.
Every representative of a group with a highly vested interest in the rollout attended. That is, except for the national peak body of Aboriginal Health.
Our First Nations people, the stronghold of our country and its 60,000 plus year history, are at greater risk of COVID-19 than the rest of us. Yet, our Government neglected to invite Pat Turner, the CEO of the organisation, to the meeting.
What is particularly worrying about this decision is that our First Nations people are among the most vulnerable to health issues in the nation.
The health inequalities are ripe between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, with 46 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders suffering from at least one chronic health condition.
Experts say that the life expectancy for Indigenous Australians is eight years less than non-Indigenous Australians and, according to the data, closing this life expectancy gap is not deemed feasible within at least the next 10 years.