Celebrating NAIDOC Week
This week is NAIDOC week across Australia – a time when Indigenous people and non Indigenous people celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Indigenous people in every region across Australia. We have come a long way on our journey towards reconciliation over the past few decades but there is still a long way to go.
I have learned a lot from Aboriginal people myself during this time… importance of place, importance of spirituality, importance of extended family and the importance of connectedness to people and places. The theme of this year’s NAIDOC week is our spiritual connection to land and sea. One of the challenges we give ourselves during the week is to learn more about the significant Aboriginal sites and places across our region.
In the social services area, much needs to be done to close the gap in areas such as life expectancy, juvenile justice, homelessness, and employment. More needs to be done in these areas and cutbacks to funding is NOT the way to go.
With regard to the rights of Aboriginal people, we continue to behave as if civilisation started with the arrival of the British some 200 years ago. I do hope this year we will be able to make changes to the Australian constitution which was drawn up without consultation with Aboriginal people and reads as if history started with the arrival of Europeans in 1788. Also while we are about it, why on earth do we celebrate Australia Day on January 26th, the date the Brits arrived? Surely this is disrespectful of Aboriginal people to continue this tradition.