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Celebrating NAIDOC Week 2023

Celebrating NAIDOC Week 2023


Time to read: 5 mins

History of NAIDOC Week

The NAIDOC event, which takes place annually during the initial week of July, has a rich heritage rooted in both activism and commemoration. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee which has been around since the 1920s, when it was formed to advocate for Indigenous peoples’ rights and improved living circumstances.

The inception of NAIDOC Week can be historically attributed to the latter half of the 19th century, during which Aboriginal rights organisations orchestrated demonstrations and activities with the aim of fostering consciousness regarding the arduous circumstances confronted by Indigenous communities.

In 1955, it was determined that there should be a day to celebrate Aboriginal culture. The expansion of NAIDOC to acknowledge Torres Strait Islander people and culture has been driven by an increasing recognition of the unique cultural histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In the present times, the commemoration is now a week long, rather than a day.

Over the course of its existence, NAIDOC Week has undergone a transformative process, emerging as a prominent avenue for cultivating comprehension, esteem, and conciliation between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations of Australia. 

The initiative persistently fosters cultural consciousness, commemorates the accomplishments of Indigenous peoples, and champions the rights and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

For Our Elders: Honouring the Wisdom of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders

NAIDOC Week 2023 is a remarkable occasion whereby individuals and organisations come together and pay tribute to the invaluable contributions of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders.

Under the theme ‘For Our Elders,’ this event underscores the pivotal role that these knowledge holders have played, and continue to play, in shaping communities and families across generations. Their wisdom and guidance serve as an anchor for cultural preservation and progress.

As employers and business leaders who prioritise the mental health and well-being of our employees, it is crucial that we actively support and engage in events like NAIDOC Week. By doing so, we not only honour the Elders but also contribute to fostering a more inclusive and supportive work environment.

Here are some meaningful ways to show your support during this significant week:

  1. Attend local NAIDOC events: Participate in community gatherings, cultural performances, and other activities that celebrate our First Nations people. By attending these events, you demonstrate your respect and appreciation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

  1. Learn about Indigenous culture and history: Take the initiative to deepen your understanding of the rich and diverse cultures that make up our nation. Educate yourself about the traditions, languages, art, and contributions of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

  1. Engage in meaningful conversations about reconciliation: Initiate dialogue within your organisation and with employees about the importance of reconciliation. Create a safe space for sharing perspectives, experiences, and ideas on how to promote understanding, respect, and equality.


Highlights and Events 

The National NAIDOC Week Awards Ceremony is the highlight of the week, honouring outstanding achievements by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony is held annually, and each year a new target city is selected to host the event. 

The National NAIDOC Poster competition holds a prominent position within National NAIDOC Week and possesses a notable and meaningful past that dates back to 1967. The annual National NAIDOC Week Poster Competition serves as a platform to foster participation among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists aged 13 years and above, inviting them to contribute their artistic creations that align with the designated theme for that particular year’s National NAIDOC Week. 

Individuals residing in any location have the opportunity to actively engage in the commemorative events of NAIDOC Week. For information regarding NAIDOC Week activities, please refer to the following: 

Embracing Cultural Appreciation: Building Bridges, Fostering Understanding

The concepts of Appreciating Culture and Appropriating Culture often intersect, but they carry distinct connotations and consequences.


Differentiating between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation is essential to engage in cross-cultural interactions with respect and inclusivity.

While the boundaries can be intricate and subtle, comprehending this difference is crucial to ensure that we foster a society where mutual understanding thrives.

Cultural appreciation involves genuinely valuing and acknowledging a different culture, with the intention of broadening our perspectives and forging meaningful connections. It centres around promoting mutual respect and open dialogue among individuals from diverse backgrounds, celebrating the uniqueness and beauty of each culture.

On the other hand, cultural appropriation occurs when individuals from a different culture adopt elements of another culture without proper credit or appreciation. It is essential to acknowledge that this practice can perpetrate insensitivity, exploitation, and harm, as it disregards the cultural significance and context of those elements.

In an era characterised by increasing diversity and inter-connectivity, it is paramount that we recognise the distinction between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. By familiarising ourselves with the cultural meaning behind customs and symbols from other cultures, we can approach cultural interactions with the respect and sensitivity they deserve.

At Catalyst, we are committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment. We understand that creating an atmosphere of cultural appreciation leads to improved employee satisfaction.

To learn more about how we can help your business promote a healthier and more inclusive work environment, reach out to us today.

Together, let’s cultivate a workplace where diversity is celebrated, and inclusivity is embraced.

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