NAIDOC Week 2021: guide

From Brekkie TV to Slow TV, history & dirt bike riders -your guide to NAIDOC Week on NITV, SBS, ABC & 10.

All Australians are invited to celebrate NAIDOC 2021  celebrating and reflecting on the history, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Inspired by the 2021 NAIDOC theme, Heal Country!, programming will feature on NITV, SBS, ABC and 10 from Saturday 3 July to Sunday 11 July.

Director of Indigenous Content at SBS, Tanya Denning-Orman, said: “We are excited to once again be bringing Australians together to celebrate the achievements of our First Nations Peoples, encourage a deeper understanding of our shared history, embrace First Nations culture and knowledge for Australia’s future, for NAIDOC in 2021.

“We are proud to continue our partnership with the National NAIDOC Committee as the Principal Media Partner and official Education Partner, and look forward to delivering an offering across NITV and the SBS network bringing a range of perspectives to all corners of Australia, championing First Nations voices and faces, and sharing stories that inspire, instil pride and lead to greater understanding and inclusion in this country.

“Our NAIDOC offering across the network continues to grow and reach more Australians each year. It’s central to SBS’s important role in the media landscape as a space to share stories of First Nations cultures, communities and conversations with all Australians, with NITV at the heart of the network providing a trusted platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and experiences.”

Isabella Higgins, a proud Torres Strait Islander woman and ABC News Indigenous Affairs Correspondent, said, “Storytelling is actually about survival – it’s about ensuring our languages, our culture, our customs, that they survive and that they’re there for the next generation.

“NAIDOC Week is this incredible time where as First Nations people we see our culture pushed to the forefront…The ABC is making sure the voices of all First Nations communities are at the front of all of our storytelling. The ABC is telling our story – the story of our communities, of our country.”


NAIDOC Awards 2021
Updated: postponed

Saturday, 3 July at 6.30pm on NITV
A slow TV showcase of Australia’s most stunning landscapes, from the head waters of the Murrumbidgee River in the east, to Broome in the west, we pay tribute to that which gives us life – Country.

Big Mob Brekky
NITV Production
Weekdays at 7.30am on NITV and SBS
Wakey wakey! Grab a cuppa and tune in for a yarn with the Big Mob Brekky crew. Join hosts Shahni Wellington and Ryan Liddle as they check in with mob right across the country for a feed, a laugh, and all the latest in Blak news and entertainment.

Red Dirt Riders
Monday 5 July at 4.30pm on ABC ME
Get ready for an action-packed adventure as bike-obsessed kids from Roebourne in Western Australia’s remote Pilbara Region take us on a journey across their country on 2 and 4-wheeler freedom machines.
Criss-crossing Ngarluma country around Roebourne, sharing yarns and laughs along the way, Red Dirt Riders is a 5-part 15-minute factual series premiering on ABC ME during NAIDOC Week 2021. Experience the Pilbara’s first traffic jam, take a trip to a coastal ghost town, discover some fascinating local history about a famous dog and hear stories of the spirits of the country, all whilst avoiding getting bogged in the bush with the Red Dirt Riders. Directed and co-produced by Ngarluma man, Tyson Mowarin, this inspiring series is yet another example of Mowarin’s commitment to creating screen content designed to share and preserve Australian Indigenous culture.

“Ngarluma country is beautiful all year round. This time we worked in the winter and even had rain. The kids were really into it and we were happy that kids who didn’t ride could still be involved making music for the series,” director and co-producer Tyson Mowarin says.

The naturally comedic Red Dirt Riders are aged between 10 – 13 years and include Logan Adams who some may recognise from his recent role as Noodles in Thalu; Cherry Rose Hubert who appeared in Red Dog, True Blue and also as Em in Thalu; and Sharliya Mowarin who also starred in Thalu as Lali. They’re joined by natural chatterboxes and social butterflies making their on-screen debuts; Isaac Guinness, Toby Cedar, Haseem May and RJ Parker. The quiet-natured Johnita Sandy, the tear-away teen Layne Smith – who can be seen on the local tracks any day of the week – and the natural leader and key contributor to the series, Penesha Wally, who played Vinka in Thalu, and makes her TV debut as the narrator of Red Dirt Riders, round out the cast of loveable locals. Written and produced by Robyn Marais, Red Dirt Riders has been created with support from ABC, NITV, Screenwest, Screen Australia (PEP) and ACTF.

Living Black – Silence Of The Stones
Monday, 5 July at 8.30pm on NITV
Season Twenty-Nine, Episode Thirteen: Silence Of The Stones
Living Black investigates what happens when ancient stone tools are discovered in our backyards and asks if they should be placed back on country or put on display for education and reconciliation.

It would be downright un-Australian to let NAIDOC week pass by without having a giggle from our First Nations finest and funniest performer.

A Case Of Identity Steft With Steph Tisdell.
9:40pm Monday July 5 on 10
This is Steph Tisdell’s debut stand-up solo show and the production that not only scored her a nomination for the Best Newcomer during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival but The Weekly Award for Best Emerging Talent at Adelaide Fringe. Delving into issues of identity, what National Sorry Day really means from an Aboriginal perspective and discussing the merits of white guilt versus overt racism, Steph’s mental health struggles culminate in a hilarious journey, ultimately leading somewhere inspirational. You’ll laugh, learn, and then question whether it’s ok to laugh.

Who Do You Think You Are?: Jack Charles
Tuesday 6 July at 7:30pm on SBS
Venerated actor and survivor of the Stolen Generations, Uncle Jack will uncover details of the father he never knew and make connections that will complete the jigsaw of his paternal family. His mother’s ancestral journey will take Jack to Tasmania, where he will discover a dark history and maternal ancestors whose resilience resonates with his own fighting spirit.

Yokayi Footy
Wednesday, 7 July at 8.00pm on NITV
Yokayi Footy takes on the traditional footy panel show with a youthful, Indigenous lens on the AFL. Each week the program, hosted by Tony Armstrong, Megan Waters and Darryl White, dives into footy and Indigenous culture through analysis, humour, and debate.

Over The Black Dot
Wednesday, 7 July at 8.35pm on NITV
Join Over the Black Dot – NITV’s flagship NRL panel show – for footy analysis, interviews with the best players in Aboriginal rugby league, laughs, and weekly insights into the games. The entertaining all-Indigenous host line-up including Jodan Perry, George Rose, Timana Tahu, and Bo Dela Cruz will be joined by analysts and guests to boycott the sensationalism, and instead offer unique perspectives as they discuss each round of the NRL.

Movie: Goldstone Friday, 9 July at 9.30pm
Indigenous Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) arrives in the frontier town of Goldstone on a missing persons enquiry. What seems like a simple ‘light duties’ investigation opens into a web of crime and corruption. Jay must pull his life together and bury his personal differences with young local cop Josh, so together they can bring justice to Goldstone.

History Bites Back
Sunday, 11 July at 8.30pm on NITV
Aboriginal filmmaker Trisha Morton-Thomas (Destiny Does Alice, Occupation: Native) teams up again with comedy director/writer Craig Anderson (Black Comedy, Occupation: Native), and some of Australia’s freshest comedic talent Steven Oliver and Elaine Crombie, to bite back at negative social media comments and steer the conversation to look into the historical context of the fortunes and misfortunes of Aboriginal Australians from social security, citizenship and equal wages to nuclear
bombs and civil actions. History Bites Back is the antidote to the boring, faceless, and overly sincere docos that often populate Indigenous issues. It’s comical, self-aware, and not afraid to launch a rocket into taboo issues.

From Monday to Friday, 6:00pm to 9:30pm, NITV will showcase the beauty of our land and seas through a number of documentaries that act as a heavy reminder of what must be protected for future generations, tying into the NAIDOC theme of Heal Country! The powerful programming includes Talking Language, Utopia Generations and Saving Seagrass.

From Sunday 4 July at 9:30pm each night, NITV will air a selection of powerful dramas, including The Tracker, Samson & Delilah, Sweet Country, Manganinnie and Tudawali. Notably, on Friday 9 July, NITV and SBS World Movies will premiere Goldstone in a simulcast across the channels.

SBS On Demand will have First Australians and Going Places with Ernie Dingo (season four) available with subtitles in five languages: Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Korean and Hindi, as well as hosting a NAIDOC-themed Australian movie collection. Additionally, Warwick Thornton’s masterpiece, Sweet Country, will be made available with subtitles in Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Korean.Throughout the week, SBS Food is proud to present NAIDOC themed episodes of The Cook Up with Adam Liaw. Adam will welcome an array of guests from Monday to Friday at 7:00pm, including Mark Olive, Rae Johnston, Marcus Poa, Jodan Perry, Nyoka Hrabinsky and Jayde Harris. Adam and his guests will chat through bush tucker, native meats and family favourite feeds.

SBS Food will also host Strait to the Plate and On Country Kitchen marathons, with Strait to the Plate – exploring and celebrating Torres Strait Islander cuisine and culture – airing from 11:30am to 2pm on Saturday 10 July, and On Country Kitchen – in which chef Mark Olive and comedian Derek Nannup fuse native bush ingredients with contemporary cooking- from 9:30am to 2:00pm on Sunday 10 July.

SBS World Movies will host a curated collection of acclaimed Australian cinema telling First Nations stories. Rabbit Proof Fence, Jasper Jones, Ten Canoes, Samson & Delilah and Goldstone will each air at 9:30pm, Monday 5 July to Friday 9 July.

SBS and NITV will also be launching an immersive storytelling experience with The Wake – an artistic installation that enables audiences to authentically connect with a subject matter and discover unexpected truths. Directed by Adrian Wills and produced by Anusha Duray, The Wake is an exploration of the issues facing Indigenous people from a variety of backgrounds, touching on the themes of birth, death and love. On display at Tandanya National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Adelaide for the duration of NAIDOC Week, four writer-performers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage share deeply personal and vivid recollections through an interactive display. Starring Shari Sebbens, Matty Mills, Sani Townson and Yvonne Weldon, audiences are offered an insight into their precious and sometimes hilarious customs and rituals. In partnership with the National Indigenous Australians Agency, it will also be on display at Charles Perkins House in Canberra for the week.

In line with this commitment, the ABC has introduced initiatives such as:

Increasing the use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nation names through supers in video programming, news reporting and in social media and TV and commissioned screen content.
ABC News has begun incorporating Acknowledgment of Country on State and Territory 7pm television bulletins in the ACT, Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania, with Western Australia and NSW bulletins to come. In Queensland and Victoria, Indigenous place names will be included in viewer-sourced photographs in weather reports within the 7pm bulletins.
7.30 will start including Indigenous place names in coming weeks.
The recent Australia Talks TV special incorporated Indigenous place names throughout the program.
Gardening Australia has been showing Indigenous place names on their map of Australia since 2020.
ABC Sport broadcast an Acknowledgment of Country for all games in recent Indigenous rounds.
An Acknowledgement of Country is featured daily on all ABC Children’s services, including ABC Kids, ABC ME and ABC Kids listen. ABC Kids listen also includes different Indigenous words every day, across 11 different Indigenous Australian languages.
On ABC Kids, Little J & Big Cuz features multiple Indigenous words and languages, including Noongar and Warlpiri. Play School incorporates Indigenous languages and words in episodes, scripts and songs.
On ABC ME, Good Game Spawn Point presenters use Indigenous place names when describing the locations they are reporting from.
ABC Factual & Culture requires external producers to reference Indigenous place names in documentary series, where relevant. Indigenous consultants advise on the appropriate use of such place names in this content. ABC factual and documentary programs also include an Acknowledgement of Country in the credits.
The ABC has collaborated with First Languages Australia to develop and publish a new version of the Gambay Indigenous language map on the ABC Indigenous website, to enable audiences to click on any part of Australia to see and listen to the language of that place.
The publicly accessible ABC Pronunciation Guide incorporates guidance on pronunciations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander names, places and concepts.

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