A message from Air Force Indigenous Elder Aunty Deb

As the Royal Australian Air Force Indigenous Elder, I welcome you to join me in celebrating NAIDOC Week (July 3-10) and the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and recognise First Nations communities for what they are – the custodians of Country, who are knowledgeable, proud and spiritually connected to place.

With the theme of Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! NAIDOC Week encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to continue advocating for meaningful and systemic change, whether it's seeking proper environmental, cultural and heritage protections, or calling out racism – we must do it together.

I encourage all Air Force aviators to take a moment to learn, reflect, listen, and understand.

Our Defence community has multiple avenues for finding out more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

Air Force Indigenous Liaison Officers (ILOs) are a contact point for those wanting to learn more about how they can deepen their relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues. Our ILOs’ work is centred on strengthening Air Force’s Indigenous engagement.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander diversity and inclusion strategy – Our Place, Our Skies – and the action plan underpinning it – Common Ground – was launched by Air Force in 2019. The strategy is aligned with the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan (D-RAP) 2019-2022 which supports the Whole of Government Closing the Gap initiative. 

I am proud to have a platform as a leader and mentor to advocate for continued progression of cultural education, inclusion and reconciliation within our service, Air Force, and more broadly, within our nation.

I invite you to join this national celebration of the continued histories, traditions, diverse cultures and ongoing achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth.


In this episode of Air Force’s Share Your Heritage video series, released for NAIDOC Week 2022, Aunty Deb Booker talks about her role as Air Force’s Indigenous Elder and how sharing stories unifies and gives purpose to how Air Force cares for and protects Australia. She encourages all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aviators to be proud to share their heritage. You can view more Share Your Heritage videos on the Air Force YouTube channel.