For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people NAIDOC week is a highlight of the year.
In Canberra particularly there are two events that are MUST DO’s. The NAIDOC on the Peninsula where we get to see some fine talent, this year Dan Sultan will be performing. Then there’s the Aboriginal Hostels Limited Luncheon, which is where we get to rub shoulders with all the special people in our community, black and white.
There are heaps more events in Canberra for NAIDOC, I just thought I would point out my faves! For the list, go to the NAIDOC webpage.
I met with ACT NAIDOC Committee Chairperson Jo Chivers and got to ask her a few questions.
How did you get involved with the ACT NAIDOC Committee?
I was dragged along to a meeting in 1994 by a work colleague and I have been involved with the Committee ever since. I feel extremely privileged to have been elected the Chairperson for the past 3 years by my fellow Committee members.
Which NAIDOC event are you most looking forward to this year?
Definitely NAIDOC on the Peninsula, which will incorporate the ACT NAIDOC Committee’s official NAIDOC Week opening and family day. This is my favourite event because I get to celebrate my own Aboriginal heritage and culture with my two sons.
This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is ‘Spirit of the Tent Embassy: 40 years on.’ – What does the Tent Embassy symbolize for you?
For me personally the Tent Embassy symbolizes the courage of Indigenous people, both well known and not so well known, who have stood up for the rights and sovereignty of all Indigenous Australians. It also symbolizes the fact that despite all of the inroads that have been made into Indigenous disadvantage, health, education, native title and land rights, there is still an incredibly long way to go.
Of all the NAIDOC Weeks you’ve been involved in over the years, what has been a highlight?
My highlights would include:
- 2008 – Canberra hosting the National NAIDOC Ball, after much lobbying from the ACT NAIDOC Committee.
- 2011 – receiving the ACT NAIDOC Person of the Year Award.
- 1994 – 2011 – the steady increase in the number of people in the ACT, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, who actively participate in NAIDOC Week activities and events, and celebrate what is one of the world’s oldest living culture’s.
What are some things people can do to celebrate NAIDOC Week in their work place or school?
Some things that people can do include:
- Holding a flag raising ceremony
- Displaying NAIDOC and other Indigenous posters
- Having an Indigenous trivia quiz
- Creating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inspired art
- Studying a famous Indigenous Australian
- Inviting elders to speak at your school or workplace
- Having a ‘bush tucker’ tasting
- Participating in local NAIDOC events and activities that have been organized in your community
What do you feel the over goal for NAIDOC Week is?
To celebrate the richness and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to acknowledge and celebrate the amazing work done in the community by Indigenous individuals and organisations.
What are you doing for NAIDOC Week?