Torres Strait gay man Elijah Manis wins NAIDOC award for activism


naidoc week awards 2022 elijah manis torrest strait gay lgbtiq activist
Image: courtesy of NAIDOC

Torres Strait gay man Elijah Manis is among the winners of this year’s national NAIDOC Week Awards, announced at a ceremony on Narrm Country (Melbourne) at the weekend.

Announced at the start of NAIDOC Week this week, the awards recognise and celebrate Indigenous Australians’ excellence and achievements.

Elijah Manis (pictured above) is from the Kulkalgal nations on the islands of Masig and Poruma in the Torres Strait.

A passionate climate change and social justice activist, Elijah won the 2022 NAIDOC Youth award at the weekend.

“Elijah is a young islander who is passionate about social justice issues and the effects of climate change on the Torres Strait,” the committee said.

“His dream is to ensure that the elders can rest in peace on their island home without fear of it being swallowed by the oceans.

“He also wants to ensure that in another 10,000 years his people can still practice their cultural dance, tradition and language on the shores of the islands where they were originally established.”

Elijah is a member of the LGBTIQ+ community and has appeared at social justice marches and rallies, including the Brisbane Pride Festival.

He’s also passionate about the creative arts, including writing, poetry, traditional dance, and acting.

Uncle Jack Charles named NAIDOC Elder of the Year

Beloved Bunurong and Wiradjuri man Uncle Jack Charles won NAIDOC Male Elder of the Year.

The actor and activist is a member of the Stolen Generations as well as a pioneer of Indigenous theatre.

Earlier, he was the first Indigenous Elder to speak at the Victorian Truth-telling Commission.

The Yoorrook Commission will establish official record of Indigenous experiences since colonisation. Uncle Jack addressed the landmark inquiry, giving emotional accounts of his life experiences.

NAIDOC Award winners recognised by their communities

This year, NAIDOC Week runs from July 3 to 10. And this year’s theme is Get up! Stand up! Show up!

High-profile celebrity NAIDOC award winners are tennis star Ash Barty and footballer Lance “Buddy” Franklin.

Uncle Stanley Grant Snr also received a NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award for his academic work preserving and teaching the Wiradjuri language.

University of Queensland researcher Professor Bronwyn Fredericks and educator Dr. Lois Peeler also received national NAIDOC honours.

Long-running Indigenous newspaper The Koori Mail also received a NAIDOC Innovation award.

Committee Co-Chair Shannan Dodson said all the awards honoured Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and achievers.

“After a two-year hiatus, it brought me immense joy to see so many well-deserving First Nations leaders who are recognised by their communities, now elevated onto the national stage,” Dodson said.

“There’s so much to be proud of in seeing this year’s winners receive their accolades.”

See the full list of NAIDOC award winners below:

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