NAIDOC week 2016 celebrations commence across the nation this weekend with activities and events emphasising the history, culture and achievements of Indigenous Australians.
The theme for 2016 is “Songlines – The living narrative of our nation”, which highlights the importance of the Dreamtime across Indigenous culture.
Sydney City Council will host an opening ceremony at 11am on Monday, July 4 at Hyde Park with a traditional smoking ceremony to cleanse the land, followed by Aboriginal dancers and entertainers as well as food stalls, an art marketplace and kids activities.
One of the performers, David Lehā, known to fans as Radical Son, will appear on stage at 12:30pm as part of the free concert program.
Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney, said in a press release: “This is a rare chance to see a rising star from Sydney’s Indigenous community in the centre of our city.”
Radical Son said he loved being involved with Indigenous events.
“I’m proud to be part of showcasing Indigenous performers,” he said.
“This is a chance for everyone to come together and celebrate our culture, heritage, history and achievements.”
The week culminates in a national award ceremony each year where 10 award categories – including Lifetime Achievement, Person of the Year, Male and Female Elder of the Year, Apprentice of the Year and Scholar of the Year – are presented to the winners in this year’s host city, Darwin.
The Royal Botanic Gardens will host a week of Aboriginal dance, music lessons, bush tucker, creative Aboriginal art and craft as well as traditional tool making for kids and their carers.
Many regional areas also take the opportunity to showcase local Indigenous artists and performers with programs through local libraries and regional galleries educating locals about traditional stories, arts and crafts.
Celebrated in the first week of July each year and tracing its origins to the 1920s, the celebration derives its name from the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee formed in 1991.
For details of events happening in your area contact your local council. – story and image by Noel Fisher