NAIDOC stands for the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. It recognises the history and celebrates the culture of our indigenous communities and is usually held in the first two weeks of July to coincide with the Day of Mourning.
The origins of NAIDOC Week can be traced back to the Aboriginal rights movement. On Australia Day 1938, protestors marched through the streets of Sydney in protest against the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Many of you would not be aware, this was one of the first major civil rights gatherings in the world. This day later become known as the “Day of Mourning”. The Day of Mourning was held annually on the Sunday before Australia Day, and commonly known as “Aborigines Day”. In 1955 the decision was made to flip the ‘Day of Mourning’ to be a day of celebration – a day to celebrate our Indigenous culture, heritage and achievements. And this is how NAIDOC week was born.
You can read more about the history of NAIDOC week including prominent and influential figures here.
Whilst our Australian history can be painful and uncomfortable, it’s important that we as a nation recognise and acknowledge this pain - this is the first step to building partnership and reconciliation within our community.
So now that we have reflected on the history of NAIDOC week, we can begin to appreciate it’s significance. Our indigenous communities are so incredibly important and special and whilst this national week reminds us of our indigenous culture and history, it is something we should remember and appreciate each and every day.