Monday musings on Australian literature: NAIDOC Week 2015
Australians will be aware that this week, July 5 to 12, is NAIDOC Week. NAIDOC originally stood for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, the committee that was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week. However, this acronym has now become the name of the week, which suggests just how significant, and well-accepted, this week is now on Australia’s calendar.
The Week aims, as you would expect, “to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”, and in doing so, to encourage all Australians to recognise and better understand indigenous Australians. Each year the week has a theme, and this year it is We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate.
This theme, according to the NAIDOC website
highlights Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ strong spiritual and cultural connection to land and sea. The theme is an opportunity to pay respects to country; honour those who work tirelessly on preserving land, sea and culture and to share the stories of many sites of significance or sacred places with the nation.
The site also tells us that this theme was particularly chosen this year “to highlight and celebrate the anniversary of the ‘Handback’ of Uluru, one of these sacred sites, to its traditional owners on 26 October 30 years ago”. To that I say, wonderful, as I am visiting Uluru for my third time later this month.
I know my ways of celebrating and supporting indigenous Australian culture are pretty tokenistic in the scheme of things, but in the spirit of this week I thought I’d share with you some of the rather eclectic things I do throughout the year as the opportunities arise:
- engage with local indigenous culture when I travel, mostly through tours led by indigenous Australians;
- attend exhibitions featuring indigenous Australian art and culture, ancient, traditional and contemporary;
- donate to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation;
- attend performances by the Bangarra Dance Theatre; and,
- read Indigenous Australian literature (though I don’t seem to read anywhere near as much as I’d like to).
It’s this last way, of course, that is most appropriate to my blog, so to mark this NAIDOC Week, I’m sharing links to posts written by me, and, with her permission, Lisa Hill (ANZLitLovers), on Indigenous Australian literature:
- Whispering Gums’ Indigenous Australian Literature tag
- ANZLitLovers’ Indigenous Australian Writing category
Some of you will know that Lisa has for the last few years run an Indigenous Literature Week during NAIDOC week but, as she wrote recently, this year she plans to run it to coincide with the First Nations Australia Writers’ Network Workshop which will be held in Melbourne next month. Watch out for that.
Meanwhile, Lisa and I hope our links help you discover more about Indigenous Australian culture through literature.