NAIDOC Week celebrations open on Gold Coast

MADISON SPEDDING

NAIDOC week celebrations are currently underway around Australia. From July 2 until July 9 the country will celebrate the history, culture and achievements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The week long celebrations are felt not only in Indigenous communities but by all Australians around the country.

NAIDOC stands for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’and is a  committee responsible for organising national actives throughout the week.

Last week, the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Organising Committee launched the world first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in preparation for these celebrations along with the Games.

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Photo: gc2018 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) artwork Credit:gc2018.com

The Commonwealth Games Vice President, Bruce Robertson said there were a number of positives surrounding the RAP that have been observed by the federation.

“We must applaud and acknowledge the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth games Organising Committee and partners for their tireless work and commitment to the Reconciliation Action Plan,” Mr Robertson said.

“An important global first to ensure the benefits and opportunities of the Games reach the whole of Australia.”

This year’s NAIDOC week celebrations surround the central theme – ‘Our Languages Matter’ – which aims to emphasise and celebrate the unique and centralised roles that Indigenous language plays in the cultural identity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and spirituality through story and song.

There were 250 unique Indigenous language groups that covered the continent at first.

Most of these languages would have several dialects, so the whole number of named language varieties would essentially run to many hundreds.

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Reconciliation Action Plan was developed in consultation with Queensland’s native Yugambeh language group along with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities across the state.

Griffith University Gold Coast played host to a day of celebration on Wednesday 5 July.

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Photo: Boomerang painting at Griffith University Gold Coast Credit: Madi Spedding

Yallburru (Gold Coast Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for Community Consultation) President, Patricia Leavy was at the Griffith University Celebrations and said whilst Australia is becoming more aware of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in society we are still not living in a Reconciled Australia.

“In my opinion were are very far away from a Reconciled Australia,” Ms Leavy said.

“The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games are attempting to make this a reality but I really don’t think we are there.”

“A Reconciled Australia takes time and we need to achieve this together, not individually.”

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