NAIDOC stands for the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee and each year, on the first full week of July, NAIDOC Week is held to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements. This year, the theme is "Our Languages Matter", focussing on the importance of Indigenous languages in cultural identity. All around Canberra there will be celebrations to attend, with the whole community invited to the festivities to celebrate as one. See here for a full list of events happening near you.
The following are Top 5 NAIDOC Week activities and events that are designed especially for kids and families - perfect for the ACT July school holidays! It is a great opportunity for kids to learn more about indigenous culture through art, craft and engaging activities.
1/ Walkabout Challenge - Australian National Botanical Gardens (Free)
Pick up a free booklet from the Australian National Botanical Gardens Visitors Centre and learn about how Indigenous people use plants for food, tools, weapons and as medicine. The Australian National Botanical Gardens is the largest collection of Australian native plants in the country, so it is the perfect place to learn about their uses. See here for details.
Friday, 7th July
2/ Art Explorer: Creative workshop with Tony Albert - NGA ($30 per child) If your kids enjoy art, they will enjoy meeting Aboriginal artist Tony Albert at the National Gallery of Australia. As part of this 2 hour school holiday workshop for NAIDOC Week, kids will explore his work in the Defying Empire exhibition and use it as inspiration to create their own works of art with playing cards, collage and found objects. This workshop is for kids aged 7 and over. To learn more about Tony Albert, see here. Bookings are essential - see here for details.
The Hand You're Dealt 2016, by Tony Albert (Girramay/Yidinji/Kuku-Yalanji peoples). Source: National Museum of Australia website
Visit the National Museum of Australia for a hands-on workshop to learn the traditional art of weaving between 10am - 2pm. Kalkadoon woman Ronnie Jordan shares her knowledge to help visitors create their own piece of woven art, inspired by the designs of the Kalkadoon people of north-west Queensland. This is a rare opportunity to learn an age-old, traditional skill. Bookings not required. See here for details.
NAIDOC Week Weaving workshops - National Museum of Australia. Source: National Museum of Australia website
4/ Create Space with Tony Albert at the NGA (Free) Create Space is a drop-in art session with Aboriginal artist Tony Albert and friends as they celebrate NAIDOC week. Drop in anytime between 10:30am - 1:30pm and get creative! No bookings required, see here for details.
5/ NAIDOC by the Lake - Belconnen Arts Centre (Free) The popular NAIDOC by the Lake is back for another year, held at the Belconnen Arts Centre on Lake Ginninderra between 11am - 3pm. There will be a wide variety of family entertainment, live music, dancing, food stalls, face painting and hands-on craft activities for kids. Learn traditional weaving or sit around the campfire and listen to traditional stories. See the Facebook event and website for more details.