Connecting to Country and Culture: NAIDOC Week

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Every July we celebrate NAIDOC Week. For those who might not be aware, NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. The 2021 NAIDOC Week takes place from 4 – 11 July with the theme Heal Country! This is a call to all Australians to seek greater protection for lands, waters, sacred sites and cultural heritage from destruction and exploitation.

The connection between country and culture runs deep, physically, socially, culturally and spiritually. Generations of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders have been fighting for stronger protections – NAIDOC Week 2021 reminds us to all come together to protect our beautiful land, its history and the stories of the oldest continuing cultures on Earth.

There are many ways we can support this ‘Heal Country’ theme for NAIDOC 2021. Consider incorporating a number of these great ideas into your NAIDOC Week celebrations with children (as always, make sure you celebrate in a COVID-safe way):

  • Display the National NAIDOC Poster or other Indigenous posters around your classroom or workplace.
  • Start your own hall of fame featuring Indigenous role models such as David Unaipon, Cathy Freeman and Mandawuy Yunupingu.
  • Listen to indigenous music and indigenous musical instruments.·
  • Research the traditional Indigenous owners of your area.
  • Research Indigenous history online or visit your local library to find books about Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples.
  • Visit local Indigenous sites of significance or interest.
  • Learn the meanings of local or national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place names and words.
  • Invite local Indigenous Elders to speak or give a Welcome to Country at your school or workplace.
  • Invite an Indigenous sports person or artist to visit you.
  • Invite Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander dancers to perform.

The NAIDOC website also has Teaching Guides as free resources to support educators. 

Here are some ideas that are specifically for early childhood education settings:

  • Make contact with your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. This way you can find appropriate Elders who can visit your school and run sessions relating to each year’s NAIDOC theme.
  • Check the resource for picture books that early childhood learners will enjoy.
  • Dedicate a daily session to watching television programs from our National Indigenous Television station, NITV (part of the SBS family). For example, you can watch an episode of award-winning animation Little J & Big Cuz each day for the duration of NAIDOC Week (and beyond – there are two seasons so far!). There are episodes translated into Aboriginal languages Pintinjarra, Arrernte, Wiradjuri, Yawuru, and palawa kani, with more languages to come.

Celebrate NAIDOC Week 2021 and continue to elevate the voices, stories and mission of Australia’s indigenous people! 

Show your support by posting children’s experiences and artwork on Facebook (National NAIDOC) and on Instagram by tagging #NAIDOC2021, #healcountry.

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