This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is Keep the Fire Burning! Blak, Loud and Proud, with fire representing the enduring strength and vitality of Indigenous cultures and a symbol of connection to the land and to each other.

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. The week’s origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of First Nations peoples.


Sydney Swans Indigenous Strategy and Player Development Manager Jarred Hodges spoke with Nova 969 about what this year’s NAIDOC Week theme means to him.

“It’s a special theme for all of us on the back of what has been a tough 12 months for community post the referendum. The result was a dagger for the community when 60% of the country don’t want you to have a voice – it was tough. So, the notion of keeping the fire burning comes on the back of that and speaks to continuing that fight for inclusion and equality,” Hodges said.

“Blak, Loud and Proud continues the push around identity. Families have been disconnected and languages were not passed on out of fear people would be removed, so there has been a severing of the cultural cord. Blak, Loud and Proud is about being who you are and walking comfortability and confidently in society.”

Hodges likened NAIDOC Week to a door that is open to all Australians, to connect, learn, and celebrate First Nations People.

“Weeks like this are really important .. it belongs to all of us,” he said.

To mark the week the Sydney Swans will wear the club’s Marn Grook guernsey when the team takes on North Melbourne at the SCG on Saturday.

This year’s guernsey, designed by Yuin artist Richard Campbell, was born from the club’s ARA First Nations Foundations program.


At the match there will also be a pre-game performance from Aboriginal singing group KARI. Visit the Match Day Hub for everything you need to know on game day.