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Home > News > 2017 > May > NAIDOC Week 2017 framed around celebrating Indigenous languages

NAIDOC Week 2017 framed around celebrating Indigenous languages

17-naidoc-logo-stacked.pngNAIDOC Week celebrations will be held from 2 – 9 July 2017 with this year’s theme, Our Languages Matter, reflecting an emphasis on celebrating how Indigenous languages shape cultural identity and transmit history, spirituality and rites though story and song.

In the late eighteenth century, 250 distinct Indigenous dialects could be heard across our nation, yet today only around 120 languages remain – with many at risk of being lost as Elders pass on.

Schools play an important role in educating around and celebrating our country’s Indigenous heritage and culture. Some ideas on how to celebrate NAIDOC Week, shared on the organisation’s website, that could be used in the classroom, include:

  • Display the National NAIDOC Poster or other Indigenous posters around your classroom or workplace.
  • Start your own hall of fame featuring Indigenous role models.
  • Listen to Indigenous musicians or watch a movie about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history.
  • Make your own Indigenous trivia quiz.
  • Study a famous Indigenous Australian.
  • Research the traditional Indigenous owners of your area.
  • Study Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and crafts.
  • Create your own Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander art.
  • Run an art competition for your school or community.
  • Research Indigenous history online or visit your library to find books about Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples.
  • Learn the meanings of local or national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place names and words.
  • Invite local Indigenous Elders to speak or give a Welcome to Country at your school.

National NAIDOC Committee Co-Chair Anne Martin said languages are the breath of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the theme will raise awareness of the status and importance of Indigenous languages across the country.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait languages are not just a means of communication, they express knowledge about everything:  law, geography, history, family and human relationships, philosophy, religion, anatomy, childcare, health, caring for country, astronomy, biology and food.

“Each language is associated with an area of land and has a deep spiritual significance and it is through their own languages, that Indigenous nations maintain their connection with their ancestors, land and law,” Ms Martin said.

NAIDOC or National Aborigines and Islander Day Observance Committee Week, has played an essential role in encouraging all Australians to celebrate Indigenous culture since its origins in the mid-20th century.

The host city for the 2017 National NAIDOC Awards is Cairns, Queensland.

For more information or resources, visit the NAIDOC Week website: http://www.naidoc.org.au/

Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.