How We Can Ensure the Spirit of NAIDOC Week is an Ongoing Commitment with Ella Bancroft

Ella Noah Bancroft is a proud Bundjalung woman that we’ve been fortunate to work with over the years. You may notice her in some of our imagery and her beautiful words in our first issue of The Slow Down here

Ella was very generous with her time and sat down with us ahead of NAIDOC Week to chat about what the week means to her, her connection to Country and how we can ensure the spirit of this week becomes an ongoing commitment in our daily lives.

If you’re local to the Byron Shire area be sure to check out Ella’s Water in Our Veins workshop taking place in Newrybar on Saturday 11th July. You can purchase tickets online here

  • Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a connection therapist, mentor and creator? 

  • I am descendent of the peoples of the Bundjalung nation and have bloodlines to England, Poland and Scotland.  I have been an active advocate for The Decolonisation movement and have written about rewilding and the rise of the female energy as a way back to a deep relationship with nature. Decolonising personal, social and ecological well-being has been how I walk on the earth for 10 years and beyond. When I left school I wanted a life full of nature, connection and community and over time I studied as a sexologist, tantra teacher and holistic counsellor. I have been mentoring Indigenous students since I was 17 and I am now 32. I have worked with many Indigenous communities around Australia and globally. At this stage in my life, all of my work is about reconnecting to the natural world and real life community we have around us and I believe this connection can set us free, I am determined to assist people back to connection. I always offer scholarships for all of my workshops, events and one-on-ones, connection doesn’t need money but it will take all of us to connect back to the land in order to heal it. 


  • You founded The Returning, a not for profit event to encourage women to gather, learn, share their skills and deepen their connection to Country. How did the idea for this gathering come about?

  • This isn’t a new idea or concept, I pay homage to my ancestors and all Indigenous peoples around the world who were well connected to their communities and land. This is a small offering, prayer for my community so we can embody what it feels like to return to a way that was far more connected to the mother. I honour all the Indigenous change makers who come before me and recognise that the birthing of the returning came from a need to see all women well and connected and that is why we give away 75 tickets to scholarship (Single mothers, Indigenous women and refugees) and exchange tickets.  Money cannot buy connection and the Returning wants to create a new paradigm to feel into. 

  • Why do you think female empowerment and supporting one another is so important? 

  • Women are the backbone of our society, and honestly the craziest thing we ever let happen was allowing this culture to separate us from living and raising our children together. I believe strongly in the idea that many hands make light work and when women combine and come together, we make real magic.  The power of encouragement and support are what keep us going.

  • Aboriginal culture is deeply rooted in respect for one another and for Country. Do you have a daily or weekly practice that helps you connect to nature? 

  • Being in connection with nature is not simple in the modern world. Like any relationship it takes time, it takes patience and it takes love. Be in nature without distractions. Give her your attention, don’t expect grand things but be ready for magic to unfold as you start a journey of finding your way home. 

  • What does NAIDOC Week mean to you? 

  • Honestly NAIDOC for me is a tokenistic week. Why do we need one week to celebrate Indigenous people, all of our community are inundated with requests to show up and then faced with the next eleven months of silence. Every day we should thank Indigenous peoples who walked this land and cared for the soil and the animals so that the invaders could get the benefits of that well cared for land. I honour my ancestors every day in prayer. 

  • How do you believe we can ensure NAIDOC Week is an ongoing, daily commitment in Australia?

  • Daily commitments should be engaging in real-long lasting relationships with nature and Indigenous communities, become aware of this history of this Country and stolen wages, look at epigenetics and how trauma affects our genes and thank the ancestors every day that you get to play and be in this incredibly abundant Country with so much history and culture embedded in the rocks, rivers and mountains.