NAIDOC Week - Recognising the last 65,000 years

Charles Knife Canyon, WA: The theme for NAIDOC Week 2020 is 'Always was, always will be', in recognition of First Nations people having occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. Photo: Shutterstock.
Charles Knife Canyon, WA: The theme for NAIDOC Week 2020 is 'Always was, always will be', in recognition of First Nations people having occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. Photo: Shutterstock.

Whereas many local and national events since March were held virtually or at our front gates on their original dates, or simply cancelled for this year, NAIDOC Week found a more nuanced solution for 2020.

The primary part of that solution was to move the dates to later in the year and it will now be run from November 8 to 15.

Doing this achieved a few things. It allowed a bit more time to adapt as many events to an online format as possible. It also anticipated a lowering of lockdown restrictions so that at least some of the smaller local community gatherings would be permissable.

Most importantly, it meant the week could still be held this year, promoting not only the theme but allowing for various local achievements to be recognised and meaningful ceremonies to take place.

The theme for this year is: Always was, always will be.

As their website explains, this theme "recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years."

Even with a new date and going virtual for some exhibitions and seminars, some of the features that are normally part of the week such as the national awards ceremony have had to be cancelled for 2020.

In a statement in August, the National NAIDOC Committee said "The difficult decision was made considering the changing and widespread impacts of COVID-19 and the uncertainty of travel restrictions, quarantining, and physical distancing requirements. This decision was not taken lightly and was reached in consultations with the Alice Springs NAIDOC Committee and other stakeholders and partners. We all want to continue to protect our elders and our communities from the disastrous impacts of COVID-19."

The same statement also called for nominations to continue being submitted for the July 2021 awards, and they encouraged local and regional awards to acknowledge achievers and celebrate excellence in November 2020.

Importantly, the committee also urged organisers and attendees to take measure to keep everyone safe.

"NAIDOC Week will continue as planned from 8-15 November and we ask that any planned events and public gatherings adhere to physical distancing and hygiene principles to protect our community from the spread of COVID-19."

Even with the moved and modified schedule that's been arranged this year there's still plenty on to enjoy. It could be a local event near you, or one of the many virtual events including exhibitions, workshops, talks or seminars on various interesting topics from art or food to poetry or astronomy.

To find out what's on visit naidoc.org.au/get-involved/naidoc-week-events.

SHARE