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Inspirational Speakers for your NAIDOC Week events

Dhiyana Varsani
13 Jun. 2022

NAIDOC Week celebrations are being held across Australia from 3-10 July to celebrate the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities but by Australians from all walks of life.

This year's theme is Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! It calls for all of us to continue to amplify First Nations voices and narrow the gap between aspiration and reality, good intent and outcome.

We have curated a list of incredible First Nations storytellers whose achievements and expertise span many topics and themes.


If you're looking for a Speaker to share their story as part of a NAIDOC week event contact our expert team on 1300 799 823 or enquire here for more information.

Cathy Freeman is one of Australia's best-loved and most successful Olympic champions.

Her greatest achievement came in 2000 at the Sydney Olympic Games as her image was beamed into millions of homes around the world. This was when Cathy became the first competing athlete to be invited to light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony; she then went on to win the gold medal in the 400m, realizing a life-long dream. Cathy's journey has been documented in the critically acclaimed ABC documentary Freeman released in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Sydney Olympic Games.

She was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) and the Centenary Medal in 2001 and retired from competitive running in 2003. She now concentrates her time on making a difference to others through the Cathy Freeman Foundation.

Learn more about Cathy >

Corey Tutt OAM is a proud Kamilaroi man and Young Australian of the Year for NSW 2020.

He is the CEO and founder of the charity DeadlyScience, which provides science resources, mentoring, and training to over 110 remote and regional schools across Australia with a particular focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Corey’s passion for Indigenous education has also been recognized through various awards including the CSIRO Indigenous STEM Champion 2019; AMP Tomorrow Maker 2019 and ABC Trailblazer 2019, 2020 Eureka prize finalist and in 2022 he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his service to Indigenous STEM education.

Learn more about Corey >

Brooke Boney is a proud Gamilaroi Gomeroi Woman, Indigenous Affairs advocate, and the entertainment reporter for the TODAY show.

Brooke masterfully balances her trademark relaxed outward glow with an inward fierceness that was borne from a childhood of disadvantage. It’s that perfectly pitched belly fire that has shaped her poise and readiness in high-pressure live media environments. It’s not often you meet a journalist who can cover a political campaign trail as comfortably as they can cover the showbiz beat.

Brooke is passionate about igniting discussion around indigenous affairs and sharing her message with sensitivity to the slow and subtle pace of progress. Best of all, she’s doing it under the hopeful gaze of thousands of Indigenous youths across the country, who have someone to help them imagine themselves doing it too.

Learn more about Brooke >

Isaiah Dawe, a Butchulla and Garawa Salt Water man is the Founder and CEO of ID. Know Yourself, the first Aboriginal-led organization delivering 1:1 mentoring and support coordination to Aboriginal children and young people in contact with the Out of Home Care and Juvenile Justice system in New South Wales.

At 17 Isaiah was travelling back to boarding school after the holidays when his foster carer sent him a text saying he was no longer able to live with them.

This was the genesis for Isaiah to create ID. Know Yourself. As Founder and CEO, Isaiah is determined to impact the lives of the 22,000 Aboriginal children in Out of Home Care, their purpose is to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma and disadvantage by establishing belonging, discovering purpose, and empowering positive choices.

Learn more about Isaiah >

Rae Johnston is a proud Wiradjuri woman, and Australia's leading commentator on all things technology, science, and pop culture.

A multi-award-winning journalist, Rae is the first Science & Technology Editor for NITV at SBS. Rae is passionate about Indigenous science, diverse representation in STEM, and the important role of mentorship. Rae volunteers as a mentor for both Science Media Centre Australia‘s Indigenous Science program and Indigitek.

Learn more about Rae >

Paul Callaghan is a Worimi man who has 20 years of experience at the senior management, executive and CEO level as well as over 20 years of cultural learning through going bush with Elders.

Paul is passionate about sharing the wisdom and lessons that can be learned from the Oldest living culture on earth and that combining Western and Aboriginal values we have a better chance at sitting together in unity and fellowship and better appreciating the beautiful land we are blessed to live in.

Learn more about Paul >

Nova Peris OAM OLY MAICD was Australia's first Aboriginal woman elected to Federal Parliament and the first Aboriginal Australian and Northern Territorian to win an Olympic Gold Medal.

Nova is a tireless advocate for Indigenous Rights and recognition and works hard at changing attitudes throughout the Australian community. In her role as a treaty ambassador for the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), she traveled around the country, campaigning for a treaty between Black and white Australians so that a fundamental understanding between the two groups can be forged. Peris has also served as International Indigenous Human Rights Ambassador and National Ambassador for Reconciliation Australia.

Learn more about Nova >

Victor Steffensen became the face of Indigenous land management during the catastrophic bushfires.

He is a keeper of memories; a custodian of a knowledge that has been handed down for thousands of years: the ability to see when the land is sick and know how to heal it. When he reads country, Victor Steffensen is drawing on a sophisticated, historical and complex understanding of the nuances of seasonal shifts, of minute observation of nature. The intimate knowledge of ecosystems and how things are interrelated, of fire and water, the significance of the timing of flowers blossoming, the breeding behaviour of animals, the particle nature of trees and the ground they stand on. It is knowledge, he believes, that can heal our country.

Learn more about Victor >

Evonne Goolagong Cawley, AC, MBE is a Wiradjuri Aborigine and one of Australia's most loved sportspeople.

Evonne is an Australian icon and has been Australian of the Year (1971) and Australian Sportsman of the Year and in 1972 Queen Elizabeth II appointed her as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). In 2018 Evonne was awarded Australia's highest honor and was appointed as a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for eminent service to tennis as a player at the national and international level, as an ambassador, supporter, and advocate for the health, education, and wellbeing of young Indigenous people through participation in sport and as a role model.

In her glorious tennis career, Evonne was ranked the number one player in the world in 1971 and 1976. In total, she won 92 pro tournaments, was a finalist in 18 Grand Slam singles events winning at Wimbledon twice, the Australian Open 4 times, the French Open once, and was runner up 4 years in succession at the US Open.

Since 2005, Evonne has run the Goolagong National Development Camp for Indigenous girls and boys. Using tennis as a vehicle to promote better health, education, and employment, the program has awarded school scholarships, produced university scholars, tennis players, coaches, and sports administrators, and has helped with employment placement.

Learn more about Evonne >

Todd Fernando (he/him), a descendant of the Kalarie peoples of the Wiradjuri nation is the Victorian Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities - the second person to fill this groundbreaking position.

In this role, Todd provides high-level strategic advice to the Victorian Government on the development of policies, services and programs to meet the needs of LGBTIQ+ communities.

Todd is a leading expert in reforming social policy and cultural safety frameworks in public and private sectors across Australia. Todd is recognised as a strategic thought leader, with a commitment to improving outcomes and opportunities for all Australians.

Learn more about Todd >

Marlee Silva is a young Aboriginal woman from the Gamilaroi and Dunghutti nations.

She is the founder of the social media-based movement 'Tiddas 4 Tiddas', which uses strength-based storytelling to champion the voices of Indigenous Australian women and girls.

Marlee is also an author, casual radio presenter on the Triple J network and the host/producer of her own podcast ‘Always was, always will be our stories.

Learn more on Marlee >

Noel Pearson comes from the Guugu Yimidhirr community of Hopevale on the South Eastern Cape York Peninsula.

He is an Indigenous Australian, a land rights activist, and a history and law graduate of the University of Sydney.

Noel is an Advisor for the Cape York Partnership (CYP) and Chairman of Good to Great Schools Australia (GGSA), and a current Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow of the University of Melbourne. Noel’s goal is to enable Cape York’s Indigenous people to have the capacity to choose the life they have reason to value by reinstating the rights of Aboriginal people to take responsibility for their lives.

Learn more about Noel >

Rachael Hocking is a Warlpiri woman from the Northern Territory.

She is a freelance journalist, moderator, and presenter who is passionate about Aboriginal women’s rights and climate justice.

In 2020 Rachael was named Media Person of the Year at the Dreamtime Awards, and she received a First Nations Media Australia award for her coverage of Kumanjayi Walker.

In 2019 she joined the Board for the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma in the Asia Pacific, where she advocates for better, trauma-informed reporting in Indigenous communities.

Learn more about Rachael >

Sasha Kutabah Sarago is a proud Wadjanbarra Yidinji, Jirrbal, and African-American woman.

Sasha’s traditional Country spans from Atherton Tablelands, Daintree to Tully, known as the Bama (Rainforest People) of Far North Queensland.

A former model, Sasha, grew frustrated by the invisibility of multicultural women in fashion and media. In 2011, Sasha founded Ascension — Australia’s first digital lifestyle platform for women of color. As a speaker, Sasha raises awareness around culture, diversity, and equity in the business, media, and lifestyle sectors.

Learn more about Sasha >

Kylie Captain is a proud Gamilaroi woman, born and raised in the inner-city Sydney suburbs of Redfern and Waterloo, she is an educational leader and a highly engaging and experienced public speaker.

Kylie offers a range of culturally-focused services for organisations aimed at developing relationships and engaging with Aboriginal communities. She also delivers education programs to help organisations and individuals build their skills and reach their fulfil their potential. Her services include Indigenous cultural education training for organisations, mainstream education programs for youth, adults and organisations, corporate team building workshops and facilitation of and development of training for staff and leaders.

Learn more about Kylie >

If you're looking for a Speaker to share their story as part of a NAIDOC week event contact our expert team on 1300 799 823 or enquire here for more information.

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