8 February 2019
8 February 2019
With Australia Day / Survival Day / Invasion Day now officially over, sights are set to NAIDOC week. So what is NAIDOC week, where can we celebrate it and what's the best way to support our Indigenous community? Although these are huge questions that we cannot answer fully in a short blog, this is a great place to start if you're wanting to know what it's all about and where to look for more in-depth info.
The National Aborigines Day Observance Committee (NADOC) was formed in 1956. It was later expanded in 1991 to include Torres Strait Islander peoples, becoming the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC). The origins of NAIDOC can be traced back to 1920, with Aboriginal groups who sought to increase awareness of the status and treatment of Indigenous people. This is an issue that is still relevant today, with talks around changing the date we celebrate Australia Day as a nation and calls for a treaty ongoing.
This years NAIDOC theme “Voice. Treaty. Truth.” is a call for Australians from all walks of life to join Indigenous people in working together towards a treaty. A treaty would break the 200-year-old cycle of Australian governments not including Indigenous leaders in negotiations on issues regarding our shared land, health and social welfare. It will mean a shared future for all Australians, respect for culture, and a new national identity that we can all be proud of and celebrate in unity.
In the lead-up to NAIDOC Week, 7-14 July 2019, community groups and local councils will advertise their events. We suggest asking your local council for information on the events happening during NAIDOC in your local area. For a list of registered events head to the NAIDOC website.
Whether you are Indigenous or non-Indigenous, the issues facing the First Nations Peoples of Australia are issues that should concern all Australians. By celebrating NAIDOC week at a local event, you’ll be showing your support for expressions of culture and helping to bridge the gap between where we were as a nation in the past and where we want to be. If the past has taught us anything, it’s that separating us as a nation is the absolute worst thing we can do. Moving into the future together is the only legible way forward.
A report released on Feb 11th by Reconciliation Australia revealed that over 90% of all Australians believed that relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians was important (Yesssss for progress!!). However a whopping 63% of non-Indigenous Australians said they either never or rarely socialised with Indigenous Australians. This is totally nuts, as we almost all see this as something super important for our nation! Building relationships is one of the easiest things we can do to bring about reconciliation in Australia. Head to a NAIDOC week event and go out of your way to help each other feel welcomed and appreciated by sharing stories and history together. You never know, it could be the friendship of a lifetime!
Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is something that we need to do collectively as a nation, but it is also something we can practice in our own lives RIGHT NOW! As champions of culture and community, we highly suggest checking out the Reconciliation Mat. Designed by Indigenous artist Angela Marr-Grogan, it depicts the coming together of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Not only a celebration of culture and art, it is a bold statement. One that welcomes us to share our stories, history and lives together. Be part of a Yarning Circle with the Reconciliation Mat at community events such as during NAIDOC week.