Taking place from Sunday 7 July until Sunday 14 July in 2019, NAIDOC Week is an annual celebration held across Australia to celebrate the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Each year focuses on a different theme, and this year it is 'Voice Treaty Truth' – to highlight the three key elements to the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart and tying in with 2019 being the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages. You can read more about this year's theme here.
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Coming together at Treetops in the Melbourne Museum, staff were first welcomed by Indigenous musician Mark Thomson playing the yidaki before Victorian community elder Aunty Zeta Thomson – Yorta Yorta on her mother's side and Wurundjeri on her father's – performed a Welcome to Country and shared stories and information about her family's history.
The Djirri Djirri Dance Group performed a number of dances while sharing the stories and inspiration behind each one. From the willy wagtail bird they are named after to their connection with the land, each of these stories explored the essence of traditional dance and ceremony while sharing with us the rich connections and history that informed each.
We were also lucky enough to have Indigenous rapper and activist Briggs join us for a Q&A, hosted by his mate, comedian Wil Anderson. As is common with Briggs, no questions were off-limits as he provided a candid look into his life. From stories about his childhood to combining art and activism, and his experience working alongside his hero Matt Groening, Briggs provided a forum for us all to learn and develop a greater understanding of Indigenous culture, history, ideas, and opinions. Briggs highlighted his skill for sharing important messages through humour and had every gathered laughing and learning in equal measure.
Photos by: Suzie Blake