NAIDOC Week: Our Celebration

27 / 07 / 2015

Back once again to the Sheilas stable, we welcome young Wardamen and Gurinji woman, Kyana Hubbard, who has shared her experience of NAIDOC Week with us! You can check out Kyana’s previous article about ‘Yarn Up 4 Change’, a campaign Kyana is leading to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues among young people here. 

My name is Kyana Imari Hubbard and I am a Wardamen and Gurinji woman from Darwin NT. NAIDOC Week is a significant event in the cultural fabric of this country, celebrating the history, language, culture and absolute splendidness of First Nations peoples of Australia. I could take up a lot of space explaining how NAIDOC Week began; instead I’m going to encourage you to visit the www.naidoc.org.au to educate yourself. It’s been going for a long time, no less than 3 generations of people have had access to this awesome week.

My family has always participated in NAIDOC Week events and I have been fortunate enough to have celebrated NAIDOC in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, which has provided exposures to a myriad of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their cultures.

I have seen the dances of the Larrakia and the Nyoongar, heard songs in Kala Laga Yaw, and listened to the Mother Tongues of the Yolngu, Jawoyn, Wardaman, Nyoongar and Tiwi. I’ve laughed with Yamatjis, participated in activities with Nykina, Bunuba and Gidja children, and yarned with Alawa, Mara and Arrente people.

I’ve been immersed in the communities that my family have lived in, learned about the local country, people and history and have been part of the celebrations and acknowledgement of community and my identity. I have learned a lot about my heritage and cultural identity during my lifetime of NAIDOC week events and activities. I’ve seen and heard some of the most prolific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, social and political activists, writers, health practitioners, academics, musicians, poets and dancers – each one influencing my life through their inspirational words, songs and actions. Each year a new memory of greatness is collected and stored in my mind, these memories remind me that we are walking the paths created by our giants and propel me to excel in my life journey. There is much to be learned and shared by all people during NAIDOC Week.

One of the best aspects of NAIDOC Week is the fun that I’ve had at every single event; meeting up with family and friends, yarning, laughing and reflecting on the previous years activities. My favourite event is always the Family Day in Perth at Bassendean Oval. The sense of community is overwhelmingly powerful, respecting country, Elders, culture, language and family. This year a friend of mine, Chris Tamwoy, won the 2015 National NAIDOC Indigenous Youth of the Year for his work in the community of Logan as a founding member of the Logan First Nations Youth Assembly, as the Co-Chair of the Logan Youth Arm Reconciliation Group and for excellence in music. The National NAIDOC Person of the Year was awarded to Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, an amazing woman who shows no fear in her fight for truth and justice for our people. Both of these outstanding individuals inspire me to do better and to be better in everything, they are beacons of light for Australia in a time when there is so much darkness and uncertainty.

Since July 1st 2008, Australia’s Blak History Month has been celebrated, it wraps neatly around NAIDOC Week. It started off as a small people’s movement that has now grown to encompass a national and international audience, with viral circulation of the BLAKHISTORY Fact Sheets celebrating 31 significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander events, people and achievements for each day of the month of July. The Fact Sheets detail the cultural, social, political and spiritual footprint of Australia. I encourage everyone to check out BLAKHISTORY at www.blakhistorymonth.com , visit the site, share the stories, each one, teach one!

NAIDOC is a week of national observation, however it is NAIDOC week every week in my home.

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