Every July Australians celebrate NAIDOC week. NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee.
The origins of NAIDOC can be traced back to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920’s, in Australia, which sought to improve, promote and increase awareness of Aboriginal issues to the wider community. Originally, the NAIDOC committee would be responsible for organising national events and promotional activities, and in more recent times it is the National NAIDOC Committee that selects a city to host the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony, as well as judging a National NAIDOC Poster Competition and NAIDOC Awards recipients.
In current times, NAIDOC continues to stick to its original values of promoting and increasing awareness of Aboriginal issues to the wider community. There is also a strong focus and celebration of the positive contribution, engagement and success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, which can be seen through a promotion of Indigenous culture, through dance, music and food.
To the non-Indigenous community in Australia, NAIDOC provides a great opportunity to promote the positive aspects of Aboriginal and Islander history and people, and to encourage reconciliation and cross-cultural understanding. People from all cultures and societies can participate in NAIDOC activities to support the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
NAIDOC week is not only celebrated in Indigenous communities but also in increasing numbers of government agencies, schools, universities, local councils and workplaces.
If you have ever thought of getting involved in these celebrations, here are a few ideas on how to get involved with NAIDOC activities in your community:
- Display the National NAIDOC Poster or other Indigenous posters around your classroom or workplace.
- Listen to Indigenous musicians or watch a movie about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history.
- Study a famous Indigenous Australian.
- Research the traditional Indigenous owners of your area.
- Study Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and crafts.
- Research Indigenous history online or visit you library to find books about Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples.
- Visit local Indigenous sites of significance or interest.
- Learn the meanings of local or national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place names and words.
- Invite Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander dancers to perform.
- Host a community BBQ or lunch.
- Hold a flag raising ceremony.
NAIDOC week celebrations are held nationally, all over Australia, and occur in July each year. Many universities, schools, corporations and government institutions celebrate this week in honour of the first peoples of Australia.
Kierin is a Griffith Grad and a proud Goomeroi (from the Kamilaroi Nation) man.