NAIDOC Week - Our Languages Matter

Held on the first week of July, NAIDOC week celebrates traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievement. Originated in 1940, the celebration has evolved into a full week of cultural events which aims to raise awareness of the status and the importance of Indigenous Australians (Australian First Peoples) across various communities.

The theme of this year’s NAIDOC is: “Our languages matter”, emphasising the uniqueness and importance of Indigenous languages which plays a fundamental role in cultural identity. Aboriginal languages are not just a means of communication; they convey knowledge about all aspects of life: history, land, nature, health, human relationship, food, religion and philosophy. Indigenous Australians maintain their connection with their ancestors, nature and law through their language.

Some 250 distinct Indigenous language groups covered the continent at first (significant) European contact in the late eighteenth century. Most of these languages would have had several dialects so that the total number of named varieties would have run to many hundreds. Today only around 120 of those languages are still spoken, and many are at risk of being lost as Elders pass on. NAIDOC week gives voices to the diverse culture of Australia’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth, encouraging them to build identity through deep collaboration with local elders and community.

We encourage you to join the celebration and appreciate the uniqueness of the Indigenous Australian languages during NAIDOC Week!

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