Australian Doula College
2 July 2023
Theme 'For Our Elders'
Here at the ADC we want to acknowledge all the elders past and present this NAIDOC Week, and all that they have done for this land and it's peoples, we are in awe and we are grateful. We hope that we can continue to do work that gives louder voice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through our work in the birth and end of life spaces.
We want to take this opportunity to acknowledge that these lands have a long history that reflects the ongoing struggle for Indigenous rights and recognition.
The origins of NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) began in the late 19th century.
1938: the first Day of Mourning was held on 26th Jan, protesting the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet and demanding equal rights for Indigenous Australians. This event marked a significant milestone in the Indigenous civil rights movement. Australia Day boycotts actually happened before the 1920's but Aboriginal rights groups noted the majority of the public remained unaware.
1939: the ‘Aborigines Progressive Association’ (APA) organised the first "Aborigines Day" to promote awareness and celebrate Aboriginal culture.
1991: the organising committee was renamed the National NAIDOC Committee, and since then, NAIDOC Week has been celebrated annually in the first full week of July.
Today, NAIDOC Week brings the community together through a series of events, including cultural performances, art exhibitions, sports competitions, and educational activities.
The Elders hold a prominent place in the communities and families, serving as cultural knowledge holders, leaders, advocates, and nurturers. They provide guidance through advocacy, activism, and everyday life, imparting wisdom in land management, justice, and human rights.
Their struggles have driven progress and ensured the survival of their people. The strength and knowledge they possess across various sectors, a source of inspiration. Past Elders are respectfully remembered, while those who continue to fight for their communities are acknowledged and honoured.
It serves as an important platform to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander excellence, culture and history. For Non-Indigenous folks, it emphasises the importance of listening, educating ourselves and the need for our continued participation in driving change and ongoing advocacy.
* Please note that the use of the term Aborigine, though now not used and inaccurate, is only used here in the title of the week as per the NAIDOC website to reflect historic use.