NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It’s an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate the richness and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to acknowledge and celebrate the amazing work done in the community by Indigenous individuals and organisations.
According to Anne Martin and Benjamin Mitchell, National NAIDOC Committee co-chairs, this year’s theme is about celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and acknowledging the key contributors to its long history.
“In 1972, the Aboriginal Tent Embassy became a powerful symbol of unity. Its founders instilled pride, advanced equality and educated the country on the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Ms Martin said.
For many, the Tent Embassy symbolises the fact that despite all of the inroads that have been made into Indigenous disadvantage, education, native title and land rights and health, there is still an incredibly long way to go. It’s a chance to look at where we’ve come from, as a nation, and where there is still work to be done.
It’s all about Closing the Gap – which is also the focus of the Local Community Campaigns to Promote Better Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (Local Community Campaigns). By helping people to understand the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices, Local Community Campaigns are reducing the risk of chronic disease, which will ultimately contribute to a reduced gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
NAIDOC Week is the perfect time to celebrate the positive work happening in your community. Here are some ideas how you can celebrate NAIDOC Week through YOUR health promotion activity.
Organise a group fitness session
It can be hard to stay motivated during the winter months – why not make fitness fun by organising a NAIDOC Week group fitness session? Maybe you could take inspiration from traditional Indigenous activities and get into ‘natural’ fitness. You could use rocks as weights, javelins as spears, or organise an outdoor circuit course… the possibilities are endless!
Schedule a story telling session
The passing down of stories through generations is probably the single most important link to knowing about the past and ancestral history. Story telling is also an important way of passing on messages, including important health messages – why not tell a story related to one of the four Live Longer! pillars?
Organise a cultural walk
Walking is a great way to keep fit and healthy. You may have walking trails that might have some significance to the local community – it’s a great way to find out more about the local history and stories while exercising!
Whether it’s traditional or contemporary, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander dance is a great way to get a message across visually and a way to keep fit and get regular exercise as a group! It can be as simple as organising a venue and a sound system, and it’s a fantastic way to celebrate culture.
Organise a bush tucker cooking class
Why not encourage your community to maintain or re-introduce hunting and gathering into their lifestyle by organising a cooking class focussed on traditional and cultural ways of collecting and cooking bush tucker. It’s a fun way to encourage healthy eating.
How are you celebrating NAIDOC Week in your community?