You mean literally? It stands for National Aboriginal andIslanders Day Observance Committee. Just in case you thought there was a personor people named Naidoc.
Actually, if you want to know the history, here’s an official story. The committee began in 1938, when around 100 Aboriginal people came together for the first Day of Mourning, on the 150th anniversary of the British arrival in Australia. Things evolved over the decades, and in 1955, the day was moved to the first Sunday in July – after it was decided that it should be a celebration as well as a protest. From there, NAIDOC became a celebration of history and cultures, spread across a week.
NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievementsof Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the nation (and acrossthe strait, obvs). There are all sorts of activities that take place, fromcommunity barbecues and luncheons to smoking or flag-raising ceremonies andart competitions.
You’ll also see footy players wearing specially designed Indigenous kits and NAIDOC-themed speeches before major events, like State of Origin. Local councils, government agencies, schools and workplaces often hold something to celebrate the week – and if yours doesn’t, who better to get things started than the person reading these words?
On a larger scale, every year, there’s a focus city for the NationalNAIDOC Awards Ceremony, a black-tie event with 10 national awards and a formaldinner. In 2019, it’s Canberra – on the land of the Ngunnawal and Ngambripeople – and the theme of the week is “Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s worktogether for a shared future.”
So, when it comes down to it, the significance of NAIDOCWeek is in being a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoplesand their achievements, stories and histories – and it’s one that the entirenation of Australia shares in.
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