NAIDOC Week 2021
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.
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.
This year the theme for NAIDOC week is “Heal Country”.
For generations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been calling for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of our culture and heritage for all Australians.
We have continued to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.
Our heritage, culture and communities and entwined to the land, especially the land to which our language group belongs. This land is known to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander as “Our Country.”
When we talk about Country it is spoken of like a person.
Country is family, kin, law, lore, ceremony, traditions, and language. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples it has been this way since the dawn of time.
Through our languages and songs, we speak to Country; through our ceremonies and traditions we sing to - and celebrate Country – and Country speak to us.
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.
- from our Aboriginal Health Team
Our Aboriginal Health Team share what NAIDOC Week and this year's theme 'Heal Country' means to them:
Emma Leehane - I am a Yorta Yorta woman. My country is on the two rivers of the Murray and the Goulburn rivers and takes in the towns of Echuca, Shepparton and Mooroopna area. NAIDOC week is a time to celebrate my heritage with the nation and to share 60,000 years of the oldest living culture in the world.
This year the theme- “Heal Country” gives us the opportunity to stop and reflect as a nation on how we should be caring for the land. It means for us as a nation to embrace First Nation’s cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia's national heritage. Understand and recognise that the culture and values of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders are respected equally to and the cultures and values of all Australians.
Josh Leishman - A proud Yorta Yorta man. NAIDOC week to means to me spending time with my family and friends to celebrate our language, our culture, our heritage and connecting with everyone.
Renee Bosworth - As a proud Gunditjmara woman, NAIDOC is a fantastic week to come together and show case our culture, and for non-Indigenous Australians to join us in a safe and non-confrontational way to learn about Aboriginal services and your local community and culture.