‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ is the theme for the 2020 NAIDOC Week in recognising that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
Australia's First Peoples have been living on the Australian continent for millennia, with the Sharks joining in NAIDOC Week celebrations at a special morning tea held in the Green View Function Room at Sharks at Kareela earlier today.
The event was arranged and hosted by the Sharks Indigenous Programs Coordinator Rachal Allan, with local elder Aunty Deanna Schrieber delivering the Welcome to Country.
Endeavour High School students performed, while Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta addressed the gathering, before Allan introduced special guests from NSW Aboriginal Lands Council, including presiding chairperson, Councillor Anne Dennis and presiding deputy chairperson, Councillor Charles Lynch.
The Sharks have also attended two school NAIDOC events this week and later tonight will take the Deadly Choices Deadly Blues competition winners to game two of the State of Origin series at ANZ Stadium.
“This year, the NAIDOC theme is ‘Always was. Always Will be.’ which celebrates the ongoing custodianship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People s have upheld for over 65 000 years,” Ms Allan said. “This is an opportunity for all people of Australia to learn about the lands on which they live and to celebrate the world’s oldest continuing culture.
“We at the Sharks are proud to be on Dharawal Country. We pay our respects to the Elders, people and ancestors of this country.”
Hundreds of NAIDOC events will run throughout the course of the week.
Traditionally held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, NAIDOC Week celebrations were postponed until November to due to lessening impact COVID is now having on events and celebrations.
NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life, with the week a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself.
Local community celebrations during NAIDOC Week such as the Sharks Morning Tea are encouraged and often organised by communities, government agencies, local councils, schools and workplaces.
For many years, the Australian Government has supported national NAIDOC celebrations as well as providing funding grants through the Regional Network to fund local celebrations.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were Australia’s first explorers, first navigators, first engineers, first farmers, first botanists, first scientists, first diplomats, first astronomers and first artists.
Australia has the world’s oldest oral stories. The First Peoples engraved the world’s first maps, made the earliest paintings of ceremony and invented unique technologies. We built and engineered structures - structures on Earth - predating well-known sites such as the Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge.
First Nations Peoples adaptation and intimate knowledge of Country enabled us to endure climate change, catastrophic droughts and rising sea levels.
Always Was, Always Will Be. acknowledges that hundreds of Nations and our cultures covered this continent.
NAIDOC Week 2020 acknowledges and celebrates that our nation’s story didn’t begin with documented European contact, with the very first footprints on this continent belonging to First Nations peoples.
For us, this nation’s story began at the dawn of time.
NAIDOC 2020 invites all Australians to embrace the true history of this country – a history which dates back thousands of generations.
It’s about seeing, hearing and learning the First Nations’ 65,000+ year history of this country - which is Australian history. NAIDOC’ want all Australians to celebrate that we have the oldest continuing cultures on the planet and to recognise that our sovereignty was never ceded.
Always Was, Always Will Be.