The last week of the Gai-mariagal Festival is the NAIDOC Week during which the history, culture and achievements of indigenous people are celebrated. It starts on the first Sunday of July and the whole week multiple activities happen. The activities are not only for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, but also for anyone who lives in Australia. The NAIDOC Week is a crucial time as you can show your support and appreciation for people First Nation people.Initially, there was a full form of NAIDOC which is National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. The organisation hosted the national activities throughout the week. But, in present day only the acronym is the name of the week and the full form doesn’t apply.
The local people are encouraged to organise and take part in activities hosted by communities, local councils, education centres, government agencies, and offices. If you are a Sydney, NSW resident then even you can organise a NAIDOC event where you live. To know more about how to celebrate the week works or get suggestions, you can call or email us anytime. Gaining knowledge before you plan to host an event during the NAIDOC Week is crucial to ensure everything happens smoothly and without any hassle. For example, you don’t need permission to fly the flags of aboriginal people or Torres Strait Islander. But, if you want to incorporate them on a poster or flyers, you will need confirmation. The Australian Government supports the national celebration of NAIDOC week by approving grants paid though Regional Network.
Upholding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s culture, heritage and traditions is important. Plus, it is crucial to raise awareness regarding the various native communities that need support. Therefore, during NAIDOCWeek, individuals, groups and organisations host performances, workshops, exhibitions showcasing native art, films and talks or discussions and much more. Whether you want to conduct an event or be part of one, you can get the required approval.
Everything that happens during the festival is for acknowledging the traditional owners of the land, the people living in these areas now and the elders of the past and present. Anyone can attend the festival and mostly families, researchers, students, local community members and others visit.
Reasons why the festival and others like it are important are mentioned as follows.
Facilitates change and development which is good for bringing people and groups together. Helps raise the voice of people who usually don’t get a medium or chances Helps with development of reconciliation action plans The NAIDOCWeekis great for education, training and understanding the indigenous culture It are also wonderful for facilitating well-being programs Such events are excellent for communications, discussions and getting people to talk about important topics, issues and problems It is fantastic mediums for celebrating different heritages, cultures and traditions. Plus, during week, people from different walks of life get an opportunity to have fun and interact freely.
Since the indigenous people faced issues and bad treatment in the past, it was common for them to boycott Australia Day (26 January) and its celebrations before 1920. It was there way of raising awareness and protesting against the imbalance of the status quo and insensitive treatment of First Nation People. But, things changed when the indigenous people discovered that a large number of Australians didn’t know about the boycotts or the problems faced by the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island people. They understood that for their movement to make impact, it was important to be active. If the movement were to make progress, it would need to be active.
Hence many groups and organisations like the Australian Aborigines Progressive Association (AAPA) in 1924 and the Australian Aborigines League (AAL) in 1932 started taking initiatives. Many organisations did abandon their efforts due to bans and harassment. William Cooper, AAL’s founder drafted a petition while struggling to keep the movement going. It was for King George V seeking distinct Aboriginal electorates in Federal Parliament. But, the Australian government didn’t put it through believing that it didn’t meet the constitutional responsibilities.
This year things changed as on the Australia Day a barrage of protestors marched throughout the stress of Sydney, NSW. This protest was followed by an assembly of more than one thousand people. It was among the initial significant rights gatherings across the world and known as the Day of Mourning.This assembly led William Cooper to present the Prime Minister at the time Joseph Lyons with a proposal for an inclusive national policy for indigenous people. It was rejected citing the reason as the Government not having constitutional powers in relation to First Nation people. After the Day of Mourning, among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people there was a mutual feeling that it should be a regular event.
Thus for the next 15 years, Day of Mourning also known as Aborigines Day was conducted annually. It happened on the Sunday before Australia Day. The time changed and it was decided that the 1955 Aborigines Day would be on the first Sunday of July because more and more people wanted it to not only be a day for protesting but also for celebrating indigenous culture.
From then on, significant First Nation organisations, state and federal governments, and some Christian groups aided in the formation of National Aborigines Day Observance Committee (NADOC). The second Sunday of July also became the remembrance for Aboriginal communities and their culture, heritage and traditions.
The Event From 1991 - Present
The celebrations during the yearly event helped raise awareness and share the culture and heritage of the Aboriginal peoples. It was then that NADOC was grew and incorporated Torres Strait Islander communities and their culture. The committee was renamed as National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC).
The acronym gradually became the name of the week. Since there have been changes in committees and their leadership. Today the week is not organised by the as National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee but NAIDOC the name remains and used as is. Keeping a theme for each year has remained the same and these theme help reflect various issues and events during the celebration.