Local media outlet and responder to the February and March floods, the Koori Mail was honoured at the annual National NAIDOC Week Awards held on Narrm Country on Saturday evening.
In its citation, the National NAIDOC Committee said that the Koori Mail is the only fully Indigenous-owned and managed newspaper in Australia. ‘Founded by a Walbunja businessman, Owen Carriage, the Koori Mail first went to print in May 1991. Published in both printed form and digitally each fortnight, it is a trusted voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a circulation of around 10,000 and a readership estimated to be close to 100,000 people.
‘Based in Lismore, New South Wales, the Koori Mail was significantly impacted by the floods this year, affecting both the organisation and those who worked for it. However, the paper immediately pivoted to distribute emergency information and provide disaster relief. Their coordination and leadership provided support to First Nations people and the wider community in and around Lismore during this difficult time.’
A new award
The award was presented by Brooke Boney and Alexandra Stone who said the award, the National NAIDOC Innovation Award, was a new award that recognises those who have developed new and innovative ideas and applied Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge in different ways.
Ms Boney said the award also seeks to recognise those who have demonstrated commitment, adaptability and innovative thinking and attitudes that enrich our communities and others.
On behalf of the Koori Mail, Naomi Moran was presented with the 2022 Innovation Award. About 20 staff and volunteers also took to the stage to celebrate the win.
She’s got a lot to say
Opening her speech Ms Moran said you’d have to be brave to give a black woman a microphone. ‘Because she’s got a lot to say.
‘This award acknowledges the Koori Mail, but could not be possible without the amazing work of our board, who stand behind me, our staff who also stand behind me and our volunteers who are also here tonight behind me, and our communities you trust that 100 per cent black-owned organisation is absolutely capable of self-determining how to care for our people.’
Ms Moran said it has been 124 days since the flood. ‘For 124 days our volunteers have stood by our side to provide support for our communities.
Doing the job of the government
‘All spent the past four months doing the job of this country’s government. We do it because to us our mob comes first. We did it by listening and taking immediate action. And we have done it with so much respect and care for our mob and our country. And although it’s been one of the most traumatic times of our people’s lives, it has been nothing but pure black joy each day, doing what we do.
‘Our people in his country are the epitome of resilience and survival. And now is the time for this country to take our lead. Our people are the greatest example of what it looks like to get up, stand up and show up.’
The NAIDOC week awards ceremony was held in Naarm (Melbourne) at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Recipients of the 2022 National NAIDOC Week Awards were:
Person of the Year – Ash Barty AO
Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr Stanley Grant Snr AM
Female Elder Award – Dr Lois Peeler AM
Male Elder Award – Uncle Jack Charles
Sportsperson Award – Buddy Franklin
Youth Award – Elijah Manis
Creative Talent Award – Lowell Hunter
Caring for Country and Culture Award – Walter Jackson
Education Award– Professor Bronwyn Fredericks
Innovation Award – The Koori Mail newspaper