NAIDOC first week of July!

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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.

Local community celebrations during NAIDOC Week are encouraged and often organised by communities, government agencies, local councils, schools and workplaces.

It’s not only about raising the Australian First Nations Indigenous Flags but on a community level NAIDOC is about Australians connecting with one another. It is a celebration of Indigenous Australian First Nations and their culture; a culture of survival, recognition, Indigenous cultural awareness, and trust. These and other Indigenous cultural safety values should be thought about, debated and actioned within our community to support the community on a whole.

The National NAIDOC Committee encourages people across the country to embrace the 2013 National NAIDOC Theme – We value the vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963.

This year’s theme was selected celebrate the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions to Federal Parliament. In 1963 the Yolngu people of northeast Arnhem Land presented the petition framed by traditional bark paintings to seek recognition of rights to their traditional lands on the Gove Peninsula.

National NAIDOC Committee co-chairs Anne Martin and Benjamin Mitchell said this year’s theme is about valuing the foresight, strength and determination of the Yolngu people who set into motion a long process of legislative and constitutional reforms for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. “The petitions are an important part of our history as they were the first traditional documents recognised by the Commonwealth Parliament and helped to shape acknowledgment of Aboriginal people and their land rights,” Ms Martin said. “They played a key role in advancing changes to the constitution and the introduction of the Native Title Act,” Mr Mitchell said.

NAIDOC Week 2013, from 7–14 July, is an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to join together to recognise the valuable contribution Indigenous people have made to this country.

Wherever you live, you can take part in NAIDOC Week celebrations. To find out about NAIDOC Week activities in your area, contact your nearest ICC on free call 1800 079 098. For more information on NAIDOC including its historical background visit http://www.naidoc.org.au

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