‘NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. NAIDOC Week is held in the first full week of July. It is
a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society. We encourage all Australians to participate in the celebrations and activities that take place across the nation during NAIDOC Week.’
From the official NAIDOC website: www.naidoc.org.au
As a way of celebrating NAIDOC week, we invited the RAP (Reconciliation Action Plan) Steering Group from St Luke’s to respond to two questions. Here are the inspiring and thought-provoking replies we received:
What inspires you about Aboriginal cultures?
The value of respect and honor—respect for the land and all who dwell on it and for each other; spirituality—knowing that we are more than just emotional, thinking human beings; connection—not only to the land but to each other, the past, the present and the future; creativity and beauty—expressed through so many artistic mediums and relationships.
What inspires me about Aboriginal culture is that it is my culture—although having very white skin, I feel connected and a belonging.
What inspires me is the connection to land, people, story and spirituality; the respect and acceptance of the natural ebbs and flows of the land and its seasons and working with this rather than trying to control it.
I am inspired at how deeply connected, proud and resilient Aboriginal culture is and how incredibly generous Indigenous Australians are in sharing their culture with the rest of the world. I look in on how Aboriginal people—individually, in family groups and community—carry that culture into their daily lives and I am envious at this great connection.
I am inspired by the strong emphasis on relationships with family, community and country.
I am inspired by the richness and resilience of Aboriginal people. My experience has always been that in being with, and working with, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people I have the pleasure of working with, they are very generous in sharing their teachings and culture. It is very much a two-way learning journey with a healthy respect for each other. The most inspiring aspect of this relationship is the generosity of giving and receiving.
If you could send a message to all Australians about Aboriginal cultures, what would it be?
Aboriginal culture has so much to teach and show us. Are we willing to learn, to respect, to take the time to hear, see and understand so that we can grow as a people, as a community, as a nation?
I feel Aboriginal culture accepts and embraces all cultures and remains strong in its beliefs but able to change and grow and adapt to stay strong.
There is much that we can learn from the traditional owners of the land—if we just took the time to watch and listen.
As a nation we are so blessed to have such an awesome living culture to share in. It is present in the ways that Indigenous Australians hold themselves with pride, are honest about its needs and share with the world its depth and diversity. We have a responsibility to teach others about its past injustices, present and future hope and to act in ways that assist to heal, flourish and preserve this culture for present and future generations to live in and appreciate.
If we all valued our relationships with people and our country above other material and other superficial concerns, we would be a much more cohesive and enriched society.
Thank you for remaining strong and proud in your culture and allowing us non-Indigenous people to learn, engage, walk alongside you and be proud of our First Nations people and culture. Your willingness to engage and include all people in sharing your rich culture is a privilege, in light of the dispossession and displacement of your people by the hands of our colonists. Together we are strong and together we can reconcile the past and ensure a strong and proud future.
What would your reply be?
Share it with us.