On behalf of the members of the Indigenous Health Committee and Mina (RACS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group), the Indigenous Health Committee extends a warm acknowledgment to all traditional owners and custodians of the lands in which we reside and pays deep respect to elders, past, present and emerging, and celebrate their continuous connection to land, water, culture, community and family.

We also give acknowledgment to all the Ngangkari of Australia and the continuing and important role they perform in cultural healing and medical practices. 

As we are all aware, the health inequalities between First Australians and the broader community are stark. It is RACS position that no difference between the life expectancy of First Australians and non-Indigenous Australians should exist. It is poignant then the theme for NAIDOC week 2021 is ‘Heal Country, heal our nation’. 

The NAIDOC Committee has said of the 2021 theme: “Healing Country means embracing First Nations cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia's national heritage. That the culture and values of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders are respected equally to and the cultures and values of all Australians”.

For several years RACS has been working towards converting its commitment to Indigenous health into action. In recent years we have seen the ratification of the Cultural Competency and Cultural Safety (10th competency) in the Surgical Competence and Performance standards; the introduction of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural eLearning course and; the consolidation of recruitment initiatives into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander – Indigenous Surgical Pathway Program.

Adding to this body of work the RACS Reconciliation Working Group has put together a NAIDOC 2021 virtual program designed to assist Fellows and RACS administration staff with developing a deeper knowledge and appreciation of First Australians connection to country and the important role acknowledgment of culture and values has to contributing to health and wellbeing of the nation.

We invite you to walk with us on this journey and visit the RACS website home page and Pulse page and part take of Australia’s national heritage and in doing so contribute to the healing of the nation.

Dr Maxine Ronald FRACS
Chair, RACS Indigenous Health Committee