NAIDOC Week is held during the first week of July, and this year it runs from Sunday 4th July to Sunday 11th July. It’s a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Indigenous communities and Australians from all walks of life and acknowledge the First Nations people’s culture, history and achievements.
Each year, NAIDOC week focuses on a central theme, and for 2021, the theme is Heal Country!
What is NAIDOC Week, and Why is it Important?
NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s, which sought to increase awareness in the broader community of the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
Every year, the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony takes place in a different Australian city chosen by the National NAIDOC Committee. This is alongside the National NAIDOC Poster Competition and the NAIDOC Awards recipients.
Celebrations during NAIDOC Week are encouraged by the community and organised by a broad range of community groups, government agencies, local councils, schools and workplaces to acknowledge Australia’s custodians, Country and educate about Australia’s rich cultural history.
Heal Country, Heal Our Nation
The theme for 2021 calls for a focus on Country and its role in shaping identity. According to NAIDOC:
“Country is inherent to our identity. It sustains our lives in every aspect—spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, and culturally. It is more than a place.”
This year for NAIDOC, First Nations people want to recognise Country and the effect we’re all having on its survival. The events, workshops, and celebrations for NAIDOC Weel 2021 aim to call for:
“Stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of our culture and heritage for all Australians.”
3 Ways to Support NAIDOC Week
For those looking to share their support of NAIDOC, there are multiple ways to do so, and there will be plenty of local opportunities, face-to-face and online ways to engage. Here are a few general ideas to help you get started if you haven’t already:
There are lots of media resources to help educate yourself and learn more about the importance of NAIDOC Week, and how to support what it stands for all year round. From films and books to television: there are lots of places to start. For NAIDOC Week, you can tune into NITV for a week of educational, celebratory and valuable content.
Show Your Support On Social Media
NAIDOC Week’s official Instagram is sharing banners and posters for those celebrating to update their profiles with. They’re also sharing Indigenous-owned businesses to support and bringing together those who reside on different lands within the country. There are official NAIDOC Week hashtags – #NAIDOC2021 and #healcountry – if you want to share some content about what you’re learning and using the tags is highly encouraged.
Support Indigenous-Owned Businesses
NAIDOC Week is a fantastic opportunity to familiarise yourself with Indigenous-owned businesses that you can start engaging with and supporting in the months to come. Celebrating small businesses is a great way to show support and you can find lists of where to start locally through Indigenous charities and campaigns in your area.
3 Ways to Celebrate NAIDOC Week and Beyond
While NAIDOC Week is a fantastic starting point and opportunity to focus on our Aboriginal and Indigenous communities, it definitely shouldn’t stop there.
Here are three ways to celebrate NAIDOC Week this July and in the months ahead:
Research Traditional Indigenous Owners
Do you know the Traditional Indigenous Owners of the place you call home? Do you know the traditional words for place and local sites in your area? These are wonderful ways to celebrate the NAIDOC theme this year, as well as building your own education for the land you live on and acknowledging its Traditional Owners.
Read Books About and By Aboriginal and Torres Strait Peoples
We all have habits of being drawn to work – whether it’s books, art, music or films – that are about and by people who are ‘like us’. It’s human nature, but one of the best ways to educate ourselves and develop empathy and understanding for everyone that lives in our communities is to broaden our horizons. Seek out books written by Aboriginal and Indigenous authors and learn more about their experiences of Country, place and its impact on their identity.
Visit Local Indigenous Sites of Significance
Another great way to engage with this year’s theme alongside growing your own knowledge of Country and place is to seek out and visit local sites of cultural significance. You may have attended some of these on school visits, but it’s worth visiting again. Attend guided tours and really engage with the lessons and knowledge your tour guide has to share. Spend some time getting to know the place you call home and its rich history – we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Celebrating NAIDOC Week is an opportunity to stop and reflect on how much you know about Country, the place you live, the traditional owners, and learn more.
NAIDOC Week is a chance to hit the refresh button and consider whether you could be doing more to educate yourself and acknowledge this incredible place we get to call home.