NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
The theme for this year Always Was, Always Will Be recognises what we’ve always known – that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
NAIDOC Week 2020 acknowledges and celebrates that our nation’s story didn’t begin with documented European contact whether in 1770 or 1606 with the arrival of the Dutch on the western coast of the Cape York Peninsula.
Undeterred by a global pandemic and in typical resilient fashion, Darwin held smaller celebrations earlier this year in July to engage with youth over the school holidays with the remaining events being shifted to November 8-15 in line with the National NADIOC Committees decision to postpone to protect our elders and most vulnerable from the virus.
Celebrating a bit differently this year
A key difference this year will be the cancellation of the NAIDOC march which is the highlight of the celebrations in Darwin. Usually, this is an occasion where people from all Nations come together to enjoy food, music, dance and robust conversation on the years chosen theme. It was a difficult decision to cancel however after much discussion with other groups around the Northern Territory, it was decided not to proceed. The ability to social distance such a large crowd posed a massive risk to safety and extreme weather conditions in the middle of the wet season would make it less than ideal to march in.
In lieu of the march proceeding, major sponsors First Nations Broadcasting are collating footage to share the journey and evolution of the march throughout history in Darwin.
LNAC plays a coordinating role
Since 2017, the Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation have played an important role of coordinating NAIDOC celebrations on Larrakia country. “This is very important to us to lead celebrations on our lands and involve the community in this process” says Nicole Brown, Deputy Chairperson of the Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation.
The calendar speaks for itself, of the 40 or so events planned, a variety of stakeholders have been involved to take ownership and plan activities in a coordinated approach ensuring a mixture of different events are held to cater for all demographics.
“This year, a lot of organisations are running their own smaller events because people are still very aware of COVID19 and trying to limit contact” explained Nicole.
Funding and sponsorship
Each year, the National Indigenous Australians Agency have a NAIDOC specific funding round available to the public. We have also been lucky enough to secure a three-year funding deal as part of the Northern Territory Government’s Community Benefit: Major Community Events Grant. This has been an enormous help to ensure our celebrations continue to get bigger and better each year.
The assistance of the business community has changed significantly with more and more businesses wanting to jump on board and support this year. With the current economic climate, it was challenging this year however the ongoing relationships that have been built have shown the unity and community spirit is still alive and well.
Last but not least, the often thankless task of all of our volunteers who contribute their time and efforts to making NAIDOC week happen each for the love of their community, this is what its all about.
“I wish NAIDOC week was every week, a time for our mob to be loud and proud and share our rich culture, history and journey with all” says Nicole.
Happy NAIDOC week to all, enjoy, be safe and may our ancestors guide and protect you always.
Always Was, Always Will Be – Aboriginal Land.
Wednesday 11th - Invitation only lunch for elders coordinated by our Aged and Disability Care team.
Friday 13th - Speeches, food and entertainment in Civic Park from 12pm-1pm.
Sunday 15th - NAIDOC Family Fun day at Lake Leanyer Waterpark from 10am -3pm.
Check out the calendar for all the activities throughout Darwin and Palmerston.
Always Was. Always Will Be.
The very first footprints on this continent were those belonging to First Nations peoples.