NAIDOC Week is an annual celebration in Australia that stands for the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. It is an important event that honors the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Celebrating NAIDOC Week in 2023, or any year, is significant for several reasons:
1. Acknowledgment and Recognition: NAIDOC Week provides an opportunity to recognize and acknowledge the contributions of Indigenous Australians to the country's cultural, social, and economic fabric. It promotes understanding, respect, and appreciation for their rich heritage and ongoing presence. This year the theme is For Our Elders. This quote beautifully explains the importance of this theme:
"We draw strength from their knowledge and experience, in everything from land management, cultural knowledge to justice and human rights. Across multiple sectors like health, education, the arts, politics and everything in between, they have set the many courses we follow.
The struggles of our Elders help to move us forward today. The equality we continue to fight for is found in their fight. Their tenacity and strength has carried the survival of our people.
It is their influence and through their learnings that we must ensure that when it comes to future decision making for our people, there is nothing about us - without us.
We pay our respects to the Elders we’ve lost and to those who continue fighting for us across all our Nations and we pay homage to them. " ( Quote and main image source: https://www.naidoc.org.au/awards/current-theme)
2. Cultural Preservation: Celebrating NAIDOC Week helps preserve and promote Indigenous cultures. It allows Indigenous communities to share their stories, traditions, language, and art with the broader Australian society. This fosters cultural continuity and ensures the preservation of Indigenous knowledge for future generations. Why not go to the Newcastle Museum’s FIRST exhibition. It features different works by local First Nations Creatives it is running until Sunday 6 August 2023, 10am – 5pm (Tues – Sun) - Its Free !!!
3. Reconciliation and Healing: NAIDOC Week plays a crucial role in the process of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. By actively engaging in the celebrations, non-Indigenous Australians can learn about the injustices and challenges faced by Indigenous peoples, promoting empathy, understanding, and healing.
4. Education and Awareness: NAIDOC Week provides a platform for education and raising awareness about the history, culture, and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It encourages individuals, schools, organizations, and communities to learn more about the true history of Australia, including the impacts of colonization and the ongoing struggles faced by Indigenous communities. We highly recommend the NITV films, documentaries and series all for free at SBS On Demand.
5. Promoting Equality and Empowerment: By celebrating NAIDOC Week, society can actively support the principles of equality, justice, and self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It helps amplify Indigenous voices, advocate for their rights, and work towards empowering Indigenous communities. Why not read up on the Voice
6. National Unity and Pride: NAIDOC Week brings Australians together in unity and pride, celebrating the diverse cultures that make up the nation. It provides an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to connect, engage in dialogue, and build stronger relationships based on mutual respect and understanding. We have made our front displays feature these beautiful pieces such as this beautiful hand embordered bag that features the art work of Josette Papajua.
Overall, celebrating NAIDOC Week in 2023 and beyond is important to promote inclusivity, reconciliation, and respect for the First Nations peoples of Australia. It is an occasion to reflect on the past, acknowledge the present, and envision a more equitable and inclusive future for all Australians.
Yvie and Sami xo