NAIDOC week – celebrating our community achievements

| July 7, 2013

In NAIDOC week Australia recognises the unique cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. April Long from the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence is organising a community event that is all about celebrating our community achievements together.

I am currently surrounded by NAIDOC wrist bands, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and service agreements for rides and a reptile show – the magic of community events planning! It’s all just waiting to be unpacked and in the hands of families, community members and young people on Friday 12th July.

Despite the mess in my office, I am very proud to be organising a community event that celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures. Organising the Inner City NAIDOC Family and Sports Day has always been a community affair, and I am proud to have the baton passed on to me by local community people. The event has been running for over 20 years and always delivers; rain, hail or shine.

The NCIE is proud to host the event which will include free rides, face painting, community BBQ, local talent quest, sports competitions, markets and stalls. The day will also see special performances on the main stage by Evie J Willie, Nooky, Uncle Johnny Huckle and Marcus Corowra.

However, the day is so much more than free rides and sausages sandwiches. NAIDOC is about coming together to celebrate our unique and distinct cultures as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it’s about celebrating our community achievements together as Australians. NAIDOC provides an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

I have so many memories of attending NAIDOC day as a child on the central coast where I grew up. I have fond memories of face painting, fire trucks, popcorn and BBQs. Memories of lining up for rides and playing football with my cousins. NAIDOC is about creating those memories for our children and young people and perhaps recreating those memories for the bigger kids!

Each year, a theme is chosen to reflect the important issues and events for NAIDOC Week. This year the theme is the Yirkkala Bark Petitions. The Yirkkala Bark Petitions were the first traditional documents prepared by Indigenous Australians that were recognised by the Australian Parliament, and are thus the first documented recognition of Indigenous people in Australian law. At the Inner City NAIDOC Day community members will be invited to write their own message on a message board.

Recognition is a powerful thing and an important thing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Recognition involves a relationship of respect and acknowledgment. The Inner City NAIDOC Family and Sports Day is only made possible because of committed community members, volunteers, donations by local businesses, and support by local, state and federal government. I would like to acknowledge and thank everyone involved in making this day happen.

We look forward to welcoming everybody at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence!

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