NAIDOC Awards celebrate First Nations' excellence

Release Date: 
8 July 2019
Media release

NAIDOC Week 2019 has commenced with the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony showcasing the outstanding achievement of some of Australia’s finest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people held in Canberra this evening.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt, said the Awards are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate individuals and organisations that enrich our communities and our nation.

“The National NAIDOC Awards are the premier awards for Indigenous Australians and this year’s recipients are well-deserving of our praise and admiration,” Minister Wyatt said.

“Their accomplishments in culture and community, sports, education and the arts stand as examples to which we can all aspire and commemorate the unique and precious place of Indigenous history, culture and achievement within the fabric of our nation.”

The 2019 Award recipients are:

Lifetime Achievement Award – David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu, AM

Person of the Year – Dean Duncan

Female Elder of the Year – Thelma Weston

Male Elder of the Year – Greg Little

Caring for Country Award – Littlewell Working Group

Youth of the Year – Mi-kaisha Masella

Artist of the Year – Elma Gada Kris

Scholar of the Year – Professor Michael McDaniel

Apprentice of the Year – Ganur Maynard

Sportsperson of the Year – Shantelle Thompson

“I congratulate this year’s winners and commend each of them for their contributions to achieving a better shared future for all Australians and the wonderful role models they represent for the young members of our communities.”

“This better future is reflected in this year’s NAIDOC theme of Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s work together for a shared future.

“The Award winners embody this theme and represent the contributions all First Nations’ people make to our community – contributions we celebrate in NAIDOC Week,” Minister Wyatt said.

For more information on these proud Indigenous Australians and other NAIDOC events please go to