NAIDOC week is an annual, week-long celebration of the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander people. NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginals and Islanders Day Observance Committee, an independent, voluntary committee of 10 members.
It is held annually starting on the 1st Sunday in July and ends the following Sunday. This year it is being held 2nd – 9th of July. NAIDOC Week allows everyone to learn about the culture and history of the First Nations People and to celebrate their achievements. You can do this by participating in events held nationwide in workplaces, schools, and communities (Naidoc.org, 2023).
Why did it start?
The history of NAIDOC week can be traced to the 1920s when Aboriginal Groups started to emerge to increase awareness in the community around the treatment and status of Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander people.
In 1938, on Australia Day, a protest through the streets of Sydney was held and was one of the world’s first major civil rights gatherings. This became known as the Day of Mourning and was held on the Sunday before Australia Day. It was also known as Aborigines Day.
The Day of Mourning was then held annually in January before moving to the first Sunday in July in 1955 when it was also recognised as a day of protest and a celebration of Aboriginal Culture.
In 1957 NADOC was formed, and the second Sunday in July became a day of remembrance for Aboriginal people. In 1991 the Torre Strait Islander people were recognised, and the name was changed to NAIDOC.
In 1974 the NADOC committee was made up of Aboriginal people for the first time, and in 1975 it was expanded from one day to the week-long event that we know today (Naidoc.org, 2023).
What it hopes to achieve?
NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for people in communities all over Australia to access activities and events where we can learn and experience First Nations cultures and histories and celebrate the achievements of First Nations People. It also allows us to reflect on the past, both the good and the bad, and learn from it in the future.
Cultural and educational activities are held across the week in schools, workplaces, and local community groups and clubs. The complete list of activities can be found at https://www.naidoc.org.au/local-events/local-naidoc-week-events
Some examples of how you can participate in NAIDOC Week are: Exhibitions at your local library, flag-raising ceremonies, Art exhibitions, Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremonies, reading a dreamtime story, or researching the traditional owners of your local area, amongst many others.
NAIDOC Week 2023
The theme of NAIDOC Week 2023 is “For Our Elders”. The Elders play an important role in the community and families and hold the stories of the oldest living culture in the world. Elders across every generation are essential in ensuring the stories are passed down to the younger generations to help guide and pave the way forward.
In 2023, how will you celebrate For Our Elders?
The premier event of the week is the National NAIDOC Week Awards Ceremony, held in Brisbane this year. Awards are given across ten categories and recognise and celebrate individuals’ achievements, stories, journeys, and how their work enhances our communities and nation (Naidoc.org, 2023).
The full list of 2023 Finalists across the ten categories can be found at https://www.naidoc.org.au/awards/2023-national-naidoc-week-award-finalists
Each year the NAIDOC Poster Week Competition is held and is an iconic feature of NAIDOC week. The poster competition began in 1967 and is open to all First Nations People. The poster reflects the annual NAIDOC theme and is judged by the National NAIDOC Committee. The winning poster is then used to promote NAIDOC week across the country. This poster can be downloaded from the NAIDOC website, printed and displayed, or you can pick up a poster at Kmart or Target for free.
The winner of the competition for this year is Bobbi Lockyer, a proud Ngarluma, Kariyarra, Nyulnyul and Yawuru artist, born and based on Kariyarra Country in Port Hedland (Naidoc.org, 2023). Bobbi was also awarded the 2021 NAIDOC Artist of the Year and has had her work published worldwide.
Integrate Sustainability pays its respects to Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander Elders across Australia for their role in reminding us of the value of Country and the role they play in passing on their knowledge to the next generation.
Naidoc.org. (2023). Naidco. Retrieved from Naidoc.org – Commonwealth of Australia: https://www.naidoc.org.au/2023-poster
Naidoc.org. (2023). Naidoc. Retrieved from Naidoc.org – Commonwealth of Australia: https://www.naidoc.org.au/about/history
Naidoc.org. (2023). Naidoc. Retrieved from Naidoc.org – Commonwealth of Australia: https://www.naidoc.org.au/awards/current-theme
Naidoc.org. (2023). Naidoc. Retrieved from Naidoc.org – Commonwealth of Australia: https://www.naidoc.org.au/about/naidoc-week