Buzzword Bingo: NAIDOC


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editing: NAIDOC Week: Songlines,,,,

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

NAIDOC originally was an acronym for the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. The (as yet unnamed) committee was first officially formed on Australia Day 1938 in Sydney by a group of around 100 Aboriginal people who gathered for the first Day of Mourning, to protest against the treatment of Aboriginal people around Australia.

In 1957 the National Aborigines Day Observance Committee (NADOC) formed and the second Sunday in July became a day of remembrance and celebration for Aboriginal people and heritage. In 1991 NADOC became NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee), to recognize Torres Strait Islanders and to describe a whole week of recognition, rather than one day. The committee's acronym has become the name of the week itself.

Key Links
NAIDOC History


2017 dates: July 2-9. Theme: Our Languages Matter
The 2017 theme celebrates the essential role that Indigenous languages play in both cultural identity, linking people to their land and water, and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song.

The National NAIDOC Committee encourages all Australians to embrace the 2017 National NAIDOC theme and to explore the use of Indigenous languages in their community. Many place names for our suburbs, rivers, mountains and parks have Indigenous language words. Observing and learning about these words will generate greater appreciation and respect for the significance of Indigenous languages among all Australians.

NAIDOC Week is held each year to acknowledge and celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and will be held from July 2-9.

The theme is Our Languages Matter, which highlights and celebrates the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity.

Hashtags: #NAIDOC2017, #NAIDOCWeek

Wiradjuri woman Joanne Cassady, is the winning artist of this year’s National NAIDOC Poster Competition. Get your free copy of the 2017 National NAIDOC Poster containing Joanne’s artwork here.

The week is celebrated not just in the Indigenous communities but also in increasing numbers of government agencies, schools, local councils and workplaces.



NAIDOC Week on ABC Extra is a special pop up radio station to celebrate NAIDOC week with great conversations, live music, interesting stories and interviews, the best pick of radio from the ABC archives and a great soundtrack of contemporary Indigenous music.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the Dreamtime describes a time when the earth, people and animals were created by our ancestral spiritual beings. They created the rivers, lakes, plants, land formations and living creatures.

Dreaming tracks crisscross Australia and trace the journeys of our ancestral spirits as they created the land, animals and lores. These dreaming tracks are sometimes called ‘Songlines’ as they record the travels of these ancestral spirits who 'sung' the land into life.

These Songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance and art. They carry significant spiritual and cultural connection to knowledge, customs, ceremony and Lore of many Aboriginal nations and Torres Strait Islander language groups.

Songlines are intricate maps of land, sea and country. They describe travel and trade routes, the location of waterholes and the presence of food. In many cases, Songlines on the earth are mirrored by sky Songlines, which allowed people to navigate vast distances of this nation and its waters.

The extensive network of Songlines can vary in length from a few kilometres to hundreds of kilometres, crossing through traditional Country of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language groups. For example, the Seven Sisters Songline covers more than half the width of the continent, from deep in the Central Desert out to the West Coast while others connect the Gulf of Carpentaria with the Snowy Mountains near Canberra.

Aboriginal language groups are connected through the sharing of Songlines with each language group responsible for parts of a Songline.Through songs, art, dance and ceremony, Torres Strait Islanders also maintain creation stories which celebrate their connection to land and sea. Songlines have been passed down for thousands of years and are central to the existence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They are imperative to the preservation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practices.

2016: Songlines
Songlines are the oldest living narrative of Australia, and will be the focus for the 2016 NAIDOC Week celebrations. NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for all Australians to come together to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people.

2015 Events (sydney)

2015 Radio





2014 celebrations are held July 6-13. To see what celebrations are taking place near you, check out the 2014 local NAIDOC events calendar or find some ideas on how to celebrate NAIDOC Week.

Celebrating NAIDOC week on RN
Indigenous features - Radio National
Celebrating NAIDOC Week 2014

Elsewhere on the Web

NAIDOC - Flickr
NAIDOC - Google News


Naidoc Week Flag Raising Ceremony..........9 July 2007