NAIDOC Week 2020: A brief history and resources

NAIDOC Week 2020 is happening now, from 8 to 15 November, after being postponed to protect Elders and the community at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak.

A brief history

NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’, and the committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week. The acronym has since been adopted as the name of the week itself. The week is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. It provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the immense contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in communities across the country.

The Indigenous voices of this country are more than 65,000 years old, and they are the first voices spoken on this continent. These languages continue to pass down lore, culture, and knowledge, with skills emerging across a wide variety of contexts including agricultural, scientific, technical and medicinal.

These words connect Australians to country, an understanding of country, and of the people who are part of the oldest continuing culture on the planet.

Wherever you live, you can take part in NAIDOC Week celebrations. To discover the events happening in your area, please visit the website.

We spoke with community leader Mick Gooda at the QCOSS Annual General Meeting on 10 November 2020, to ask him about the significance of celebrating NAIDOC Week:

Uluru Statement from the Heart

Voice. Treaty. Truth. These were the three key elements to the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Broadly, the statement seeks to enshrine a First Nations Voice in the Australian Constitution and establish a Makarrata Commission supervising the process of agreement-making with Australian governments, with the Commission also overseeing a process of truth-telling about Australia’s history and colonisation.

Today, Australia is one of a few remaining democracies around the world which still does not have a treaty or other arrangement with its indigenous people.

Read the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Cultural resources

Immerse yourself in these resources and learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. This list was assembled by Queensland Council of Social Service’ Senior Sector Capacity Officer, Julie Allen, a proud Palawa woman.

Free webinars

Celebrating NAIDOC and First Nations Cultural Outreach – Monday 9 November

Bush foods for the backyard – Tuesday 10 November

Better healthcare in hospitals for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People – Thursday 12 November

Documentaries and short talks

The Apology (Reconciliation Australia)

Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky (SBS On Demand)

In My Blood It Runs (ABC iView)

What Aboriginal knowledge can teach us about happiness (TEDxStKilda)

The Value of Deep Listening – The Aboriginal Gift to the Nation (TEDxSydney)


Let’s talk on 98.9fm

Language articles

27 Aboriginal words and phrases that all Australians should know

Jandai Language Guide

Children and young people

Languages of our land (ABC iView)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander WHOLE CHILD

Music and art

Electric Fields – From Little Things Big Things Grow

A.B. Original and Paul Kelly – Dumb Things

Oka – Kulcha

Connect to Aboriginal Culture during NAIDOC Week 2020 (Event in Brisbane – Sunday 8 November)