National Aborigines And Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC Week)

First People Then And Now




Each year, in the first full week of July, Australians are invited to participate in NAIDOC Week.


Arnhem Land art


The original one-day celebration has now been extended into the whole week. A National Aborigines Day Observance Committee was first formed in 1957.

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (which was once responsible for organising national activities). 

During NAIDOC Week (in 2017 running from 2–9 July) the survival of Indigenous Australians, their history, culture and achievements are celebrated. It has its origins in the 1920s and 1930s when organisations like the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association and the Australian Aborigines’ League promoted the disadvantage of Indigenous peoples and their lack of citizenship rights.

NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by all Australians. 

It’s an opportunity to participate in different activities and to support the local the Indigenous community.

At the end of every NAIDOC Week, the National NAIDOC Awards are announced at a ceremony and ball held in the host city. Each year, a different city hosts the this. 

Local community celebrations are encouraged and these are frequently arranged by communities, government organisations, councils, schools and workplaces.

Cairns in North Queensland is the host city for 2017.

The  theme for NAIDOC Week this year is Our Languages Matter. The 2017 theme aims to  celebrates the role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity and how Indigenous Australians are linked to their land and water.

It is through language, story and song that the history of Indigenous Australians is transmitted.

Aboriginal languages

Traditionally there were some 250 distinct Indigenous languages and around 700 dialects in Australia.  Today only around 120 of those languages are still spoken and many of these languages are at risk of being lost as the senior people pass on.

A Wiradjuri woman, Joanne Cassady, is the winner of the 2017 National NAIDOC Poster Competition. Her art work called Your Tribe, My Tribe, Our Nation is displayed on the 2017 NAIDOC poster.


Marji Hill

Author: First People Then And Now: Introducing Indigenous Australians