To start off our celebration of NAIDOC week, Uncle Laurie came into school to give a welcome to country and smoking ceremony to the whole school. He spoke to us about the importance of this year’s theme, VOICE. TREATY. TRUTH. and how we need to speak the truth about Indigenous Australia’s history in order to move forward together. NAIDOC week is a celebration of the rich culture that encapsulates the Australian identity.
It is one of the best opportunities to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, talent and resilience. NAIDOC week, which is celebrated annually in the full first week of July, stands for ‘National Aboriginal and Islanders Day of Observance Committee’. The week began in 1957 when Aboriginal organisations, state and federal governments and a number of church groups came together to support its formation. However, its roots can be traced back to the 1920s and the 1938 Day of Mourning march and conference.
It’s a week when Australia celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures and communities and recognises the valuable contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make to our country. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. To us NAIDOC is about celebrating and sharing our unique culture with family and friends. It is a time to share our traditions with each other and teach and learn about the history of Indigenous Australia. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future. And with 2019 being celebrated as the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, it’s time for our knowledge to be heard through our voice.
Voice. Treaty. Truth. were three key elements to the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. These reforms represent the unified position of First Nations Australians. The Indigenous voice of this country is over 65,000 plus years old. They are the first words spoken on this continent. Languages that passed down lore, culture and knowledge for over millennia. They are precious to our nation.
It’s the Indigenous voice that includes know-how, practices, skills and innovations – found in a wide variety of contexts, such as agricultural, scientific, technical, ecological and medicine fields, as well as biodiversity-related knowledge. They are words connecting us to country, an understanding of country and of a people who are the oldest continuing culture on the planet. We can all work together to ensure that our shared histories build a stronger Australian future.
Maria Stevenson and Maria Treacy
Year 11 Students