NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. In 2016, NAIDOC Week will run from 3 July to 10 July.
NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself. Find out more about the origins and history of NAIDOC Week.
Each year, a different city hosts the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony. The host city, National NAIDOC Poster Competition and the NAIDOC Awards recipients are selected by the National NAIDOC Committee.
In 2016, the host city is Darwin; and Lani Balzan, a proud Wiradjuri Aboriginal woman from NSW, is this year’s winner of the prestigious National NAIDOC Poster Competition.
The theme for NAIDOC Week 2016 is Songlines.
Songlines - The living narrative of our nation - will highlight the importance of Songlines to the existence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the Dreamtime describes a time when the earth, people and animals were created by our ancestral spiritual beings. They created the rivers, lakes, plants, land formations and living creatures. Dreaming tracks are sometimes called ‘Songlines’ which record the travels of these ancestral spirits who 'sung' the land into life.
The National NAIDOC Committee encourages all Australians to explore and celebrate how, through Songlines, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people remain connected to Country and have been able to maintain and share sacred stories and ceremonies for tens of thousands of years.
National NAIDOC Committee co-chairs Anne Martin and Ben Mitchell said the theme is one which will showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people histories and deep spiritual connection to the land.
"Through learning more about Songlines, all Australians can celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as the oldest continuing cultures on the planet”, Ms Martin said.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people used Songlines to navigate vast distances and map oceans, waterholes, rivers, birds, animals, plants and hunting grounds.
At Assetlink, we are honouring NAIDOC week in a number of ways:
1. Ongoing Cultural Competence education for our team via the Centre for Cultural Competence Australia for our leaders and Share our Pride for other team members.
2. Submission of our ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan for review by Reconciliation Australia
3. The Sydney support team at Assetlink will be participating in NAIDOC week by attending the Royal Australian Historical Society event “This is Where They Travelled: Historical Aboriginal Lives in Sydney” on Friday, 8 July 2016 in both the 10.00am and 1.00pm timeslots.