NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This year's theme is ‘Heal Country!’.
At Muscle Nation, personal growth is important. We are constantly looking for ways we can grow and further our learning as an organisation. We embrace diversity and are committed to making Muscle Nation a community that is inclusive, supportive and empowering.
This year, we are proud to release our Men’s and Women’s NAIDOC Tees in support of NAIDOC Week 2021. In June, we had the incredible opportunity to travel to Byron Bay for a cultural day. On the trip, we spoke with Kaiden Powell from Changing the Odds about his art and our collaboration. We were also privileged to join Arakwal Bundjalung custodian, Delta Kay, on a cultural tour around Cape Byron.
Our NAIDOC Tees
In support of NAIDOC Week, we collaborated with Kaiden Powell - an Aboriginal artist, motivational speaker, mentor and proud Wiradjuri man. We are honoured to have worked with Kaiden to create the artwork on the logo and sleeves of the NAIDOC Week tees. The artwork is a snippet from a larger canvas Kaiden painted especially for our collaboration.
All orders placed over NAIDOC Week will receive our printed NAIDOC card to celebrate and bring awareness to our community. Customers can scan the QR code on this card, which will link them to this blog to learn more about Kaiden's story and our collaboration.
Together, our community raised $25,863 in sales from our NAIDOC Tees and website checkout donations. We are very grateful for our community's generous donations, and for everyone who supported our initiative. Muscle Nation is going to add a further $10,000 to bring the total donation amount to over $35,000.
Full proceeds of the sales will be donated to charity - not just the profit, or a portion, but the full amount of every tee that has sold will be donated. We also included a donation option at the checkout for our community to donate while placing their orders on our website.
Our Connection with Kaiden
We met Kaiden earlier this year while shooting our HBxMN Collection in Byron Bay. Our team was in awe of a magnificent tree near where we were shooting. Kaiden came over to our team and started chatting with us about the history of this particular tree. This marked the start of our friendship. A few weeks later, Kaiden reached out to us explaining he is an Aboriginal artist. We had been searching for an artist to collaborate with for NAIDOC Week, and we thought the partnership was meant to be.
Kaiden believes everything happens for a reason, and we are meant to meet the right people at the right time. Our collaboration with Kaiden happened organically, which Kaiden explains provided the natural foundation for creating this artwork. We started having discussions about what we wanted to portray on the canvas, and from there, Kaiden brought his painting to life. The moment Kaiden saw his artwork on our NAIDOC Tees, he said he was very proud his message could be communicated in the modern age through these garments.
Our Collaboration & Kaiden's Artwork
Kaiden’s artwork symbolises community. The different colours represent diversity, and people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds coming together. The small circles symbolise individual social groups and gatherings, while the larger circles represent these smaller groups coming together. Kaiden's artwork embodies the themes of inclusion, sharing, compassion and open-mindedness. The painting emphasises the importance of coming together, learning and listening to one another.
His artwork encapsulates his belief that we should listen to each other's stories with compassion, love, care, honour and respect. As community is the focal point of Kaiden's artwork, this resonates in harmony with NAIDOC Week's 'Heal Country!' theme.
Our Trip to Byron Bay
On June 22, our Muscle Nation team travelled to Byron Bay for a cultural walk and tour with proud Arakwal Bundjalung custodian, Delta Kay. Delta is committed to working in genuine partnership with the local Byron Bay community to promote awareness, understanding and mutual respect between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.
On our walk, Delta took us on a journey around Cape Byron. She told us about the local history of Byron Bay, along with sharing traditional stories of the land. We walked through Cape Byron's beautiful rainforest, admiring the dolphins in the waters and waves crashing onto the cliff faces. Delta taught us about the region's natural medicines made from native trees, traditional tools, artefacts, bush food and key words from the Bundjalung language.
After the walk, we sat with Delta and sampled some traditional bush tucker including macadamia nuts, finger limes, native berries and a lemon myrtle tea.
We are very grateful to have been given this opportunity to learn and immerse ourselves in the Aboriginal culture. Our trip to Byron Bay and cultural walk with Delta Kay are treasured experiences and memories that will remain with us forever.
How Our Donation Will Be Distributed
Full proceeds of sales from our NAIDOC Tees will be donated to charity - not just the profit, or a portion, but the full amount of every tee sold will be donated. All donations received via our website checkout will also be donated.
About NAIDOC and how our donation is going to help
NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. NAIDOC Week is celebrated across Australia not only by Indigenous communities but by all Australians. The National NAIDOC Committee (NNC) plans National NAIDOC activities, celebration dates and the theme.
NAIDOC Week is held in the first week of July and celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is an opportunity for all Australians to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and raise awareness of the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
To learn more about NAIDOC, click here.
BlackFit Fitness (BlackFit)
About BlackFit and how our donation is going to help
BlackFit, founded by Joshua ‘Thurston’ Toole, specialises in programs focused on empowering children and communities to make healthy lifestyle choices and live quality healthy lives. They believe education is key in order to close the gap for Aboriginal people and improve the quality of life for all Australians. They emphasise every Aboriginal child should have the same opportunity to learn and practice their culture, as well as lead a healthy lifestyle and well-being.
BlackFit endeavours to motivate and encourage people from all walks of life to learn about the Aboriginal culture, and how a healthy lifestyle goes hand in hand. BlackFit aims to educate, motivate and empower all Australians to improve their physical and mental health.
They believe strengthening the relationship between the Aboriginal culture and a nation's well-being on a holistic level, will assist in closing the gap in Australia. Their vision is to work in every aspect of health and well-being to provide a firm foundation to reach Australia's unity.
Our donation will help continue their work in these programs in particular: The Men's Reconnect Program and Inside - Outside Health.
The Men's Reconnect Program was developed to provide young First Nations men with a stable foundation and positive connection to their lives.
Inside - Outside Health was developed to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, at the secondary school level. This program was designed to address the socioeconomic disadvantages and health inequality faced every day by young Indigenous adults in Australia.
These values resonate with our vision at Muscle Nation and were key factors for this collaboration.
To learn more about BlackFit Fitness, click here.
Kurbingui Youth & Family Development (Kurbingui)
About Kurbingui and how our donation is going to help
Starting as a small boxing club in 2001, Kurbingui is a community organisation now leading the way as a mentor, educator and role model for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
Kurbingui is a not-for-profit, Aboriginal community-based organisation, providing services to the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander community members, families, children and young people in Greater Brisbane, Moreton Bay and South East Regions.
Focusing on providing support to their community, Kurbingui's mission is to build a flexible and sustainable organisation, based on cultural values to empower their community to reach their potential.
Kurbingui offers various community support services, ranging from employment and training to family support. These services include areas concerning; alcohol and substance abuse, domestic and family violence, recreation and sports, and cultural education and engagement for children, young people and families.
Our donation will help Kurbingui continue to provide these essential services and seek new opportunities to provide support to their community. A big reason we nominated Kurbingui as a beneficiary of this fundraising drive is because we are part of their community.
To learn more about Kurbingui Youth & Family Development, click here.