NAIDOC week, commemorated each year in early July, celebrates the history, culture and achievements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Each year a new theme is chosen to highlight an issue which affects the Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander communities, with this year's theme being 'Our Languages Matter’.
This year’s theme aims to celebrate the many different indigenous languages found throughout Australia, many which have disappeared since the late 18th century. Of the estimated 250 distinct indigenous language groups found at the time of the first fleet, each with several dialects, only 120 of them are still spoken.
Held annually between the 2nd and 9th of July. NAIDOC originally was an acronym for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’ but now has become the name of the week itself.
Along with a new theme being chosen every year, a different city is chosen to host NAIDOC Week with Cairns being the host city for this year. These decisions are made by The National NAIDOC Organising Committee whose members are selected based on merit through a public nomination process.
The theme of NAIDOC week this year was aims to emphasise the importance of the spoken word to Indigenous and Torres Strait Island cultures. Apart from a means of communication, Indigenous languages are so significant due to the fact that they communicate knowledge about everything, helping to link individuals to their land, history and spirituality. According to the National NAIDOC Committee Co-Chair Anne Martin this theme will raise awareness about the importance of Indigenous languages and their status within Indigenous cultures.
This year’s theme also aims to highlight the work of communities and programs which are working to revitalise and preserve Indigenous languages. This will hopefully encourage all Australians to notice and show a greater appreciation for Indigenous languages and names within their region.
NAIDOC Week celebrations are not exclusive to Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples, all Australians encouraged to take part in NAIDOC celebrations and to learn about Indigenous culture and practises.
For more details about NAIDOC Week and potential ways to celebrate Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander culture please visit: