Indigenous excellence celebrated at 2019 National NAIDOC Awards
Wednesday, 10th July 2019 at 6:04 pm
An Indigenous educator who has spent almost two decades boosting the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with qualifications has been named National NAIDOC Person of the Year.
Dean Duncan was recognised as a “champion of diversity, social justice and equality” at the 2019 National NAIDOC Awards in Canberra on Saturday.
A Kamilaroi man from Moree, Duncan spent time in the military before turning to education, where he has worked for the past 17 years looking to increase the number of qualifications held by Indigenous people.
Congratulations, Dean Duncan the 2019 National NAIDOC Person of the Year 👏🏽
— NAIDOC (@naidocweek) July 6, 2019
He helped spearhead the first Indigenous-specific Bachelor of Midwifery program, which has worked to close the gap in maternal health outcomes.
Duncan is currently national diversity manager at Lifestyle Solutions, supporting people with disability and young people in out-of-home-care.
He used his acceptance speech to call on Australia to create a treaty with Indigenous people.
“Australia is one of the few liberal democracies around the world which does not have a treaty or treaties or some kind of acknowledgment or arrangement with its First Nations people,” Duncan said.
“We are not one people. We are individual mobs, clans and nations and we need to acknowledge that.
“We need people, representing our own people, at their own level, on their own country. And a treaty will only succeed if they are the ones that are making it.”
— NITV (@NITV) July 6, 2019
Duncan will receive a $20,000 bursary from award sponsor Commonwealth Bank.
Sara Sutton, the bank’s regional general manager for NSW/ACT, congratulated Duncan for his achievement.
“His determination and passionate pursuit for diversity, social justice and equality make him an inspirational role model for all Australians,” Sutton said.
“He has dedicated his life to making a difference and through his work he has set an exemplary example. It’s an honour to present him with this award.”
National NAIDOC Committee co-chair John Paul Janke said these annual awards were the premier opportunity to showcase Indigenous excellence.
“These awards honour outstanding achievements at the community, national and international level,” Janke said.
“They celebrate our past, our present and our future and individuals’ unwavering determination and work enrich our communities.”
The full list of award winners can be seen here.