NAIDOC Week – Our Languages Matter

2017 National NAIDOC logo

NAIDOC Week runs from the 2-9 July and celebrates the rich history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. This year’s theme is ‘Our Languages Matter’ and hopes to emphasise the vital role Indigenous language plays in the cultural identity, spirituality for Indigenous Australians and in linking them to their land and water.

Today only about 120 languages from over 250 are still spoken and many are at risk of being lost. Each unique language carries with it stories, rites and knowledge so it is important they each one is preserved and maintained. Ms Anne Martin, National NAIDOC Committee Co-Chair has said,

“Each language is associated with an area of land and has a deep spiritual significance and it is through their own languages, that Indigenous nations maintain their connection with their ancestors, land and law.”

This NAIDOC Week why not learn about the languages that shaped Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Here are some of the resources available at QUT Library that can get you started on your language journey.

Celebrating NAIDOC Week

aboriginal-art-503444_1280 cropJuly 3 to 10 is NAIDOC Week. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islander Day Observance Committee and celebrates Aboriginal and Islander history, culture and achievements. It is a time to recognise the contributions Aboriginals and Islanders have made to Australia and our society.

There are lots of ways you can celebrate NAIDOC Week. The official NAIDOC website has Australia wide events that you can participate in.

Here are our top recommendations for celebrating NAIDOC Week and enjoying your break at the same time –

  • Put a NAIDOC poster on your fridge, wall or even in your study or work area.
  • Check QUT Library’s collection and borrow a book or watch a movie about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history.
  • Relax and listen to some Indigenous musicians.
  • Research the traditional Indigenous owners of your area.
  • Visit local Indigenous sites of significance. RACQ has published a great guide so you can look for places near you!

Have a look at NAIDOC for more ideas on how you can celebrate NAIDOC week.


Serving Country: Centenary and Beyond by Harry Alfred Pitt –

July 6th is the start of NAIDOC Week, a time to celebrate Indigenous arts and culture. This year’s theme is Serving Country: Centenary & Beyond. Events include art exhibitions, award ceremonies, family fun days and more! The full event schedule is available on the NAIDOC website.

QUT will hold a special celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in week 3 of second semester. Murri – Ailan Way will run from August 5-7 with a variety of events across all three campuses. QUT Library will be holding a BlackWords promotion on the 6th of August featuring author talks. Watch this space for more information.

About NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC Week developed from the movement to promote awareness of the treatment of Indigenous Australians. In the 1940s, a day of mourning was held on the Sunday before Australia Day. This was known as Aborigines Day. It was moved to July in 1955, and was extended to include a celebration of Indigenous arts and culture. The National Aborigines Day Observance Committee was formed and when Torres Strait Islander culture was included in 1991, the committee became the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC). The new name has become the title for a whole week of celebration.

A nationwide poster competition, held since 1972, is a highlight of NAIDOC Week. Harry Alfred Pitt is the winning designer for 2014 with his beautiful image celebrating this year’s theme. All the posters can be viewed on the NAIDOC poster gallery.