chronic diseases

Jul 14, 2014

NAIDOC Week 2014: Someone was here, and they’re here to stay

 

How to capture the scope and scale of this year’s National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week 2014 (6-13 July)?

It can’t cover everything, of course, but social media was a great window to events and initiatives taking place last week across the country, many of which raised important health issues and services and all of which rebuffed the Prime Minister’s poor reference to “the then unsettled or, um, scarcely settled, Great South Land” that preceded, um, British colonial “investment”.

Tom Calma was particularly powerful, in his NAIDOC call for Constitutional recognition of Indigenous people, of the need for both symbolic and practical steps towards reconcilation:

Like Mabo and the 1967 referendum, there is nothing to fear here. This next step is for our constitution to recognise a simple truth – someone was here – and to ensure that racial discrimination has no place in our nation’s highest law.

Let’s make history by fixing our constitution to reflect our long history in this land and remove the discriminatory elements of it for all time.

See below for a few more of the conversations and highlights, not least this brilliant Archie Roach cover (and if you have trouble with these embedded tweets, apologies, but you may have to try another browser).

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NAIDOC 14 theme: Serving Country: Centenary & Beyond

Marking 100 years since World War One broke out, this year’s NAIDOC theme honoured the service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women in Australia’s military conflicts and engagements across the globe.

The NAIDOC website made it clear this includes “our warriors in the Frontier Wars”, whose absence from the Australian War Memorial was described as “disgraceful” by historian Peter Stanley in this NAIDOC speech to the Australian Defence Force Academy:

Incidentally, it’s because a military Mounted Police were actually raised in Australia, in Sydney in 1825, that makes it absolutely legitimate for the Australian War Memorial to present the story of Frontier Conflict, something that, to its shame, the War Memorial has consistently declined to do, even though it is now virtually universally accepted that Australia’s experience of conflict begins with the Frontier Wars. That disgraceful absence needs to be remedied so we can truly reach an honest, informed reconciliation.

Read also Paul Daley’s piece:

So perhaps now is an appropriate time for official monuments to the Indigenous diggers and for the warriors of the frontier wars – such as Pemulwuy, Jandamarra, Wyndradine, Durelle and Kanabygal.

In her much-retweeted article in The Guardian, Celeste Liddle agrees that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people like her serving grandfather need to be celebrated and remembered, and that frontier warriors deserve recognition “because their existence has been completely denied in this country”.

But she says we need to embrace a “more nuanced view of our engagement in conflict” and be proud too of the nation’s Indigenous “protest warriors”.

National NAIDOC awards

See the full list of awards recognising the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Indigenous artists, scholars, sportspeople, Elders and community leaders.

Great wraps

Great events

Sharing music, art, history, sport and culture

A play list from Indigenous rapper, DJ, producer Jimblah

A Songlines NAIDOC jam

Digital dreamings

Who got involved?

Politicians

Health services

Sports people

Business

The judiciary

Media

And many more

And ready to roll again in 2015

***

Since compiling this post, Croakey has learnt of the very sad death of Deadly Vibe founder Gavin Jones, founder of the Deadly Awards, the annual celebration of Indigenous music, sport, and entertainment. We refer journalists and other people on social media to the Mindframe media guidelines for public discussions.

For help or more information

For people who may be experiencing sadness or trauma, please visit these links to services and support

• If you are depressed or contemplating suicide, help is available at Lifeline on 131 114 or online. Alternatively you can call the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 4671300 659 467.

• For young people 5-25 years, call kids help line 1800 55 18001800 55 1800

• For resources on social and emotional wellbeing and mental health services in Aboriginal Australia, see here.

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