NAIDOC Week

Created By: Shannay Shannay

Every year from the first Sunday of July is National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week. It’s all about celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, achievements and history – and Shannay reckons it’s a pretty great event, for more reasons than one.

Aboriginal flag painted on desk
From that day I knew that NAIDOC wasn’t just a celebration for Aborigines, it was for everyone

Mind the gap

In Australia, there is a huge gap between the Aboriginal population and the non-Aboriginal population when it comes to things like mental and physical health, educational achievement and life expectancy. Events such as Sorry DayMabo Day and National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week help to shed light on some of the issues/successes experienced by Australia’s First People, and encourage people to engage in conversation about it. These events are helping people to educate themselves and learn the skills and information they need to work towards a society that is equal and respectful of everyone. They are helping to shed light on Aboriginal culture and affairs in the hope of bringing everything together as a family. 

Like milk in coffee

There is a lot of stigma around being Aboriginal. Some people judge those who self-identify as Aboriginal as being either too white or too dark to really be Aboriginal; but it is not the colour of your skin or your look that defines you as a person. It’s who you believe you are within yourself. 

I was told by someone that if you had a cup of coffee, and added milk to it and just kept adding and adding more milk, no matter what the colour of it, would it still be coffee? And the answer is yes, it is still coffee. It doesn’t matter how much or how little milk you put into that coffee, just like it doesn’t matter how light or how dark you may be, it all is about what lies within yourself. You are who you are.

NAIDOC Week

This week is NAIDOC Week. This time of the year is when everyone gets together and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, history and achievements as one. When I was little I used to think that NAIDOC week was only for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and only they were allowed to celebrate it. However, as I grew older I found this to be far from the truth. In my community, on the first day of  NAIDOC Week, everyone would march together through the main street in celebration, but it wasn’t just Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were marching. There were people from all different walks of life holding the hands of our elders, walking with us and waving the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag. 

From that day I knew that NAIDOC wasn’t just a celebration for Aborigines, it was for everyone. The most amazing thing about that day was the fact that everyone from different cultures, religions and ethnic backgrounds all came together to celebrate, have fun and just live as if we all were the same.

Come one, come all

I guess the point that I am trying to make is that it is not just the Aborigines caring for the Aborigines. We get so lost in the stigmas, the prejudice and the discrimination, that we forget to see that there are people out there who have no Indigenous heritage, but have so much love and respect for the Aboriginal culture and the people, just as much as we do ourselves.

Last reviewed: 07 July, 2014
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