Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Everyone should celebrate NAIDOC this week

It's NAIDOC Week this week, a time for celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and communities. The week is also a great opportunity to highlight the strength that culture and community offer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

There's a lot that you can do to join with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in celebrating NAIDOC Week.

This year's NAIDOC theme, 'Honouring Our Elders, Nurturing Our Youth', highlights the importance the community places on its Elders and its young people. It is important to acknowledge Elders and the role they play in supporting, teaching and guiding young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, many of whom are struggling to find their feet and their way forward.

Brian McCoy's excellent reflection on this year's theme captures this point very well. McCoy, an anthropologist specialising in Indigenous health and well-being who has worked with desert Aboriginal communities for a long time, shows how important NAIDOC week is – not only to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples but to all Australians.

Considering last week's report on Indigenous disadvantage, the latest in a long line of official reports that highlight the growing gap in disadvantage between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia, this is an important demonstration of community strength and support. It's a way for many communities to show that they can make a difference, and are making a difference, for the better.

And it's an important way for non-Indigenous people to show their solidarity with Indigenous communities on this matter.

There are lots of NAIDOC Week events across the country. You'll find a calendar of events if you pick up a copy of the country's only Indigenous controlled national newspaper, the Koori Mail. You can also get information from local NAIDOC committees and Indigenous groups.

If you’re looking for a NAIDOC event in Melbourne, the NAIDOC March & Rally is on Friday 10 July. The march starts off at the Aboriginal Health Service on Nicholson St, Fitzroy at 10 am and makes its way to Federation Square.
More details here.

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