What is NAIDOC Week 2017?
This week is NAIDOC Week 2107 in Australia.
NAIDOC is the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Each year for the first week of July, Australia celebrates its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and contributions to country and society.
This years theme is ‘Our Languages Matter’.
NAIDOC Week is a great opportunity to meet with elders and community, learn about culture and heritage and help establish a better understanding of community for all.
Last year I posted about some Aboriginal Bike Safety Programs for NAIDOC Week 2016.
For this year’s National Reconciliation Week, I looked at WA’s The Indigenous Talent Identification and Development Squad (ITID) to develop a team of Indigenous Olympic Track Cyclists.
This year I went to the Redland Performing Arts Centre to support their Our Languages Matter: A NAIDOC Showcase.
Redlands NAIDOC Week Celebrations
It was a terrific day.
There was a traditional smoking ceremony, cultural and dance demonstrations, weaving workshops and a sand art/play space.
IndigiScapes Tea Garden Café kept us happily fed with copious amounts of bush tucker tasting including yummy croc curry, bush kangaroo sausages with sweet BBQ sauce and homemade kangaroo pies.
I was blown away to see Che ‘Cockatoo’ Collins there, one of my childhood AFL heroes in the flesh – awesome!!!
There was a super informative demonstration by Matt Burns (from the Qunadamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, Stradbroke Island) about Aboriginal culture, tools and lifestyle – by far the best presentation I have seen – full of super interesting facts (like the Guinness World Record for javelin throwing is 104.80 m, as opposed to throwing a spear with a woomera 147meters, which William, an Indigenous man in Kuranda QLD did to become the Guinness World record holder).
Custom Made Bikes by Aboriginal Artists
For the cycling NAIDOC Week 2017 fanatics, I’d like to share this custom made bike I saw in Cairns Airport when I was last there.
In the places I’ve seen painted bikes, it has been bikes painted by local or well-known Aboriginal artists that are then auctioned off for charity.
This bike was custom made (bamboo) and beautifully painted. It was part of the Ironman display, which was on at the time.( It’s a bugger the picture resolution is not good enough to read who the artist is to follow up – what a pity! I couldn’t find anything about it online about the bike or artist either! Grrr!).
Regardless, it was a stunning bike and well worth being showcased.
The photo does not do it justice – the detail in the painting was brilliant and the colours super vibrant.
What a beautiful bike – imagine hitting the road for your Saturday pack ride with this beauty!
What a great way to be proud of and share the elegance and heritage of Aboriginal art.
More like it, please!
Happy riding this NAIDOC Week!!
Postscript: I like to think this blog reflects a positive approach to people, life and choices.
I had a great time during NAIDOC week, but I was sorely disappointed but how few non-indigenous Australians attend NAIDOC events and support Indigenous Australia.
I have since been thinking about this a lot since NAIDOC.
I think it is time that as a nation we stand up and be proud of our indigenous history and peoples.
I find it unsettling that for the majority of Australians, this critical issue is of little or no importance.
So here is my challenge…
Still a long way to go for recognition and understanding
I am disturbed about the vast amount of misinformation that circulates about indigenous Australians.
Which is why events like NAIDOC are important.
In 2011, Indigenous Australians made up only 3% of all Australia’s population, and the vast majority of non-indigenous Australians have never spent any meaningful time meeting or speaking with Aboriginal Australians.
I think this is part of the problem.
Where was the non-indigenous community supporting NAIDOC this week?
I saw only a handful of non-indigenous people at the Redlands NAIDOC event.
Get better information about Australian history
For non-indigenous people who are interested in finding out more about Australia’s history (as opposed to the superficial, limited, romanticised, watered-down precis you might have got in school), there is a TV show I’d recommend as a starting point:
SBS’s First Australians seven-part series presents Australian history in a way that to date has remained predominately untold.
It is poignant, well-researched and important to know part of Australia’s history that needs to be known more widely.
See you next NAIDOC Week.