NAIDOC Week is an Australian observance celebrating the achievements and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The acronym NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. It has its roots in the 1938 Day of Mourning, becoming a week-long event in 1975. NAIDOC Week is a celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Each year, a theme is chosen to reflect the important issues and events for NAIDOC Week.
Always was, always will be
"NAIDOC Week 2020 acknowledges and celebrates that our nation’s story didn’t begin with documented European contact whether in 1770 or 1606 - with the arrival of the Dutch on the western coast of the Cape York Peninsula."
"Always Was, Always Will Be. recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years."
In the spirit of NAIDOC Week, Down By The Banks set out to complete two small actions. Firstly, we placed an Acknowledgement of Country on our website, it reads "We acknowledge the Wajuk people of the Noongar Nation, the Traditional Owners and custodians of the Land on which our business operates, and pay respect to Elders past, present and future."
This lead us to learn more about the Wajuk people of the Noongar Nation. We'd like to share with you some of the things we learnt, thanks to the Noongar Culture website:
- The town of Guildford in the Whadjuk region has always been an important meeting place for Noongar people. The area contains many campsites and spiritual sites which have been used by Noongars from pre-contact to the present day.
- One of these spiritual sites is a bend in the Swan River near Success Hill, where the Waugal lives. Central to Noongar culture and beliefs, the Waugal is the serpent that created the Swan and Canning Rivers. It meandered over the land of the south-west, making curves and contours of the hills and gullies.
- Noongar people may refer to Kings Park as Karra katta or the hill of the spiders or Geenunginy Bo, the place for looking a long way.
- Lore for Noongar people is unwritten and refers to kaartdijin (knowledge), beliefs, rules or customs. Noongar lore is linked to kinship and mutual obligation, sharing and reciprocity. Our lore and customs relate to marriage and trade, access, usage and custodianship of land. Traditionally, it has governed our use of fire, hunting and gathering, and our behaviour regarding family and community. Noongar lore works with nature to protect animals and our environment. Noongar people do not eat animals that have totemic significance with our names. This contributes to assuring biodiversity is maintained and food supplies are always in abundance.
Finally, we want to share with you one really fun action you can undertake with your family. A few weeks back we stumbled across the First Nations Bedtime Stories Challenge - a unique way to learn from and celebrate First Nations cultures. It's completely online so easy to get involved no matter where you are. From the 16th of November, we can watch one Dreaming story a day, for five days. They are told by First Nations elders and knowledge custodians from Central Australia. It's FREE to register and fundraising for the cause is strongly encouraged.