by Dr Melinda Miller, Pedagogy and Practice Manager
NAIDOC Week takes place from November 8-15.
The week is an acknowledgement of the histories, cultures, and languages of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. While we acknowledge First Nations peoples during NAIDOC Week, we also do this throughout the year.
Why NAIDOC Week?
NAIDOC Week is one way to recognise the unique and enduring relationship of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to the lands and territories now known as Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples represent the oldest and richest cultures on earth. Their cultures, lore, ceremonies, and connections to land remain strong.
NAIDOC Week recognises and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s first explorers, first navigators, first engineers, first farmers, first botanists, first scientists, first diplomats, first astronomers and first artists.
In line with this year’s theme – Always Was, Always Will Be – we recognise First Nations peoples have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are spiritually and culturally connected to this country and their diverse cultures and languages continue to thrive.
In our centres, NAIDOC Week forms an integral part of our curriculum. When embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, educators are informed by the National Quality Standard and the Early Years Learning Framework.
Educators establish connections with Aboriginal Elders, community members and organisations within the centre’s local area so they understand and draw from local perspectives.
How we acknowledge NAIDOC Week
Embedding practices will look different in each of our centres. Here are some things you may see:
- An Acknowledgment to Traditional Owners or Custodians from the local area or region in the reception area, along with the display of an Aboriginal Flag and a Torres Strait Islander flag.
- In rooms, you may see representations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, perspectives, and cultures. This may be through various resources including books, puzzles, music, imagery, textiles, and dolls.
- In the outdoor space, you may see a yarning circle, totem poles or symbols, and native gardens.
- Educators may also draw on Aboriginal pedagogies (ways of teaching) to engage children in learning experiences such as using natural materials, making land links with local environments, and using symbols and images to represent concepts and tell stories.
- The involvement of an Elder or community member in curriculum planning and implementation
- Children and educators may come also together at the beginning of the day to speak an Acknowledgment to the Traditional Owners or Custodians of the lands on which the centre is located.
Join with us as we recognise Australia always was and always will be the lands and territories of First Nations peoples. As the NAIDOC Week Committee reminds us, the First Peoples engraved the world’s first maps, made the earliest paintings of ceremony and invented unique technologies. We built and engineered structures – structures on Earth – predating well-known sites such as the Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge.
All Australian children have the right to understand, access and celebrate this unique history and the ongoing contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to present day Australia.