NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for all Australians to learn about First Nations cultures and histories and participate in celebrations of the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth.
Each year has a theme and this year’s is ‘Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up’. As a nation, it calls for us to continue to Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! for systemic change and keep rallying around our mob, our Elders, our communities. Whether it’s seeking proper environmental, cultural and heritage protections, Constitutional change, a comprehensive process of truth-telling, working towards treaties, or calling out racism—we must do it together.
You can support and get to know your local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities through activities and events held across the country. These events aim to educate all of us of the country we stand on, the language, history and achievements of our First Nations people.
National NAIDOC Week’s premiere event is the National NAIDOC Week Awards Ceremony which showcases Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander excellence. Every year, a different focus city is chosen to host the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony.
Previous National NAIDOC Week Award Winners come from many different communities within Australia and have different backgrounds, however they are all part of NAIDOC history and share remarkable achievements.
One such winner was the Koori Mail, Australia’s only fully indigenous-owned and managed newspaper with a circulation of approximately 10,000 and an estimated readership across Australia of close to 100,000.
In its citation, the National NAIDOC Committee said that the Koori Mail is the only fully Indigenous-owned and managed newspaper in Australia. ‘Founded by a Walbunja businessman, Owen Carriage, the Koori Mail first went to print in May 1991. Published in both printed form and digitally each fortnight, it is a trusted voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
‘Based in Lismore, New South Wales, the Koori Mail was significantly impacted by the floods this year, affecting both the organisation and those who worked for it. However, the paper immediately pivoted to distribute emergency information and provide disaster relief. Their coordination and leadership provided support to First Nations people and the wider community in and around Lismore during this difficult time.’ The support included setting up a street kitchen and serving food to community members, many who had lost everything in the floods. The Koori Maiil is a a fine example to us all of what it truly means to ‘Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up!’