The first day of NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) Week kicks off the seven days of festivities that celebrate the culture of the native people of Australia. Ironically, though it’s now a time of celebration, NAIDOC Week originally started as a time for protesting. In the 1920s, Aboriginal rights groups came together to boycott and draw attention to their rights. However, around 1955, the week officially adopted a celebratory tone. Now, it’s a time to enjoy live Indigenous Australian music, art competitions, and storytelling.
First Day of NAIDOC Week - History
NAIDOC Week got its name
Although the acronyms have changed a couple of times, NAIDOC became the official title of the weeklong celebration in July.
Department of Aboriginal Affairs formed
The group came together to advocate for Australia's native people.
Aborigines Day incepted
Instead of protests, Aborigines Day began to celebrate the the Aboriginal and Islander people of Australia.
January 26, 1928
Day of Mourning commemorated
The Aborigines Progressive Association held a major civil rights gathering that protested the poor treatment of the Indigenous people. This day became an annual occurrence.
Aboriginal rights groups boycott Australia Day celebrations
Aboriginal rights groups decided not to participate in Australia Day celebrations due to the poor status and treatment that was experienced by Indigenous people.
How to Observe First Day of NAIDOC Week
1. Listen to Indigenous music
Acquaint yourself with the Indigenous music of Australia throughout NAIDOC Week. The soothing sounds of this style of music are sure to whisk you away to a different time and place.
2. Play with a boomerang
What better time to head outside with a friend and throw a boomerang around than during NAIDOC Week? We have the Aboriginal people of Australia to thank for the invention of the boomerang, so grab a friend and honor a piece of Indigenous history.
3. Take a field trip
NAIDOC Week is a great opportunity to finally see important indigenous sites that have influenced Australian history. You don't have to be geographically near them to explore; you can also take a virtual tour online!
Why First Day of NAIDOC Week is Important
A. It's a time to celebrate Australia's Indigenous people
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but NAIDOC Week encourages slowing down and appreciating Australia’s aboriginal and islander communities and their many accomplishments. In the past, these communities didn’t receive the love they deserved, so it’s important to recognize what a pivotal role indigenous people have played throughout Australia’s history.
B. All Australians are welcome to participate in NAIDOC festivities
Most Australian town and cities organize events that recognize NAIDOC Week, and you don’t have to be of aboriginal or islander descent to be a welcomed guest. There are a ton of ways NAIDOC week is celebrated throughout each community, and all Australians are encouraged to find an event that suits their interests.
C. Awards for outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are handed out
It’s important to acknowledge outstanding citizens, and many communities throughout Australia hand out awards to inspirational Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander citizens throughout NAIDOC Week. Award categories include Person of the Year, Youth of the Year, and Scholar of the Year.