Foundation Housing Tenants share about this year’s NAIDOC week theme: For Our Elders

The 2023 National NAIDOC Week theme is 'For Our Elders'.

June 15, 2023

Across every generation, Elders have played, and continue to play, an important role and hold a prominent place in communities and families. 

Foundation Housing tenants Trevor, Simone, Anthea and Andrea share below about this year’s theme and what it means to them.

What does ‘elder’ mean to you?

Trevor: Elders can explain to young people where to go, what to do and what not to do. It’s about respect and the young people respecting you for being a mature aged man. When I get called an elder it feels good.

Simone: We need to respect, care and love our elders more as they are our creators, and they keep our culture rich.

Anthea: Someone that is a role model, a teacher and sets an example to the younger generation. They share a wealth of knowledge with the community. It’s also about how much cultural knowledge they have, someone who is qualified to pass on skills, language, ceremony and procedures.

Andrea: They are the oldest living generation. The matriarchs of the family, someone full of knowledge and wisdom. They are the glue that holds our families together.


What do you think an elder does in the community? 

Trevor: They can do a Welcome to Country and are a representative of our people. They can explain and teach about culture.

Simone: In my opinion, an Elder in our community helps keep our language and culture alive,
sets positive role models for our younger generations, helps identify our needs in all areas and
helps better our services and community.

Anthea: They have wisdom and share a wealth of knowledge and understanding of culture. They help us have a sense of pride and more connection to culture.

Andrea: They provide leadership, cultural knowledge and history. They pass down cultural traditions to the younger generations.


Who gets to say who an elder is? 

Trevor: I suppose it’s the oldest person in your clan, someone who has knowledge. You must go to the country to find people with more connection to to country.

Simone: I tell my children that anyone older than them (adults) is their elder, so us individual folk can have a say too.

Anthea: It is how they are seen in the community and if they are being acknowledged as an elder by the younger generation of the Aboriginal community.

Andrea: The community and the generations after.


Who is someone you consider an elder?

Trevor: Uncle Ben Taylor. He is a Southwest Noongar and the respectable elder around. He knew my grandfather and mother. He is a cousin of my mother. I call him Uncle and I look up to him.

Simone: Jo Narrier at Indigo Junction. I respect her as a community elder. Another person is my Aunty Raylene Rile (Ricks) who is also at Indigo Junction. They are both working grandmothers who also help care for their grandchildren.

Anthea: Mervin Eades who is always fighting for justice for our people. Also, Uncle Ben Taylor who is a man of faith in the Indigenous community.

Andrea: My aunties Peggy and Barbara of the Geraldton Community. Both matriarchs of my mother and fathers families. They know a huge amount about our families’ histories and both have experienced a lot of changes in this country. My father Kevin of the Meekatharra community is definitely someone I would go to. He is a treasure trove of knowledge about my people and the country we belong to.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts Trevor, Simone, Anthea and Andrea. Foundation Housing is proud to work alongside our Aboriginal tenants to learn more about the culture and history of our First Nations people.