NAIDOC Week is currently being celebrated around Australia and the theme for 2020 is Always Was, Always Will Be.
NAIDOC invites all Australians to embrace the true history of this country – a history which dates back thousands of generations. It is a time for all Australians to celebrate that we have the oldest continuing cultures on the planet and to recognise that the sovereignty of Aboriginal people was never ceded.
The morning tea at CatholicCare was catered by local Aboriginal catering service Yamuloong, and attendees enjoyed traditional Australian flavours including Lemon Myrtle Muffins, Wattle seed Scones served with Lilypilly Jam and Wattle seed cream, and Tropical Bush Tucker Punch.
CatholicCare Director Gary Christensen made the opening address and spoke about the history of NAIDOC and the importance of acknowledging the contribution and experience of Aboriginal people in our communities.
“Indigenous culture is diverse and strong and makes a vital contribution to Australia's national identity, “ said Mr Christensen.
“NAIDOC acknowledges and celebrates that our nation’s story didn’t begin with documented European contact. The very first footprints on this continent were those belonging to First Nations peoples.
“This week is a good opportunity for us all to reflect on and recognise the history of our country, and the valuable and continued contribution Aboriginal people make to our communities through culture, art, language, music, sport and education,” Mr Christensen said NAIDOC celebrations are normally held across Australia each year in July in recognition and celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the National NAIDOC Committee decided to postpone NAIDOC Week 2020 in the interest of safety for Aboriginal communities.
The following excerpt is taken directly from the National NAIDOC Committee and echoes this year’s theme Always Was, Always Will Be.
“We are spiritually and culturally connected to this country. This country was crisscrossed by generations of brilliant Nations.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were Australia’s first explorers, first navigators, first engineers, first farmers, first botanists, first scientists, first diplomats, first astronomers and first artists.
Australia has the world’s oldest oral stories. The First Peoples engraved the world’s first maps, made the earliest paintings of ceremony and invented unique technologies.
We built and engineered structures - structures on Earth - predating well-known sites such as the Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge.
Our adaptation and intimate knowledge of Country enabled us to endure climate change, catastrophic droughts and rising sea levels.
Always Was, Always Will Be acknowledges that hundreds of Nations and our cultures covered this continent.”