What does NAIDOC mean to you?
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Keegan interviewed five Indigenous Australians on what NAIDOC means to them in the Darug heartland of Baramada, now known as Parramatta.

What does NAIDOC mean to you?

by Keegan Thomson See Profile
Parramatta NSW, Australia
21st Jul 2017
What does NAIDOC mean to you?

NAIDOC is a week long celebration of what it means to be an Indigenous Australian and of the unique achievements of our First Nations Peoples. The 2017 NAIDOC celebrations focus upon country and language with a real emphasis on connecting people to one of the 250 different Indigenous languages in Australia.

Australia’s First Nations communities are extremely diverse. To find out what NAIDOC means to different people, I spoke to a number of Indigenous Australians in the Darug heartland of Baramada, now known as Parramatta.

Krista Pav - Indigenous songwriter and musician

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Pictured: Krista Pav

NAIDOC this year is specifically addressing our languages and why they matter. I actively work with language revitalisation in the Ngiyampaa language. If I was to say what NAIDOC means to me, I’d say it should be NAIDOC every day. It is a celebration of our 60,000 years of culture and heritage.

Barbara Fernando - Indigenous craft maker

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Pictured: Barbara Fernando 

To me it is reconciliation for my people and to have NAIDOC as an event for Aboriginal communities, I feel that I’m gathered around my tribe and I’m learning a lot more about my culture. I was lucky to be brought up in Walgett, a town in north western New South Wales, being around an Aboriginal community all my life. My nan and pop never let me forget and taught me the Aboriginal way, the culture and the language, and that is what I want to do today for my kids so they can be recognised as Aboriginal people.

Pauline Boney - Indigenous craft maker

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Pictured: Pauline Boney

It is a week of unity where all Indigenous people can come together, unify and learn from each other. No matter if it is talking, painting, dancing or storytelling, it is important. It is a brilliant idea that we can celebrate our identity with NAIDOC. Other than our own people know who we are, we want all races involved so we can be recognised for who we are.

Yamandirra Newton - NAIDOC Indigenous dancer

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naidoc 4

For me it is a great opportunity to educate non-Indigenous people about our culture. We’d really like that opportunity every day, all year round, but it is a great opportunity for the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, to focus on Indigenous people, issues, sovereignty and all the rest. NAIDOC means to me, a great opportunity to share culture and provide a link between non-Indigenous people and Indigenous people.

Janelle Randall-Court - Indigenous choreographer and dancer at Treasures Dance Production

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Pictured: Janelle Randal-Court

It is a time of the year that excites me, I get really excited. It ignites a real sense of pride for me and our people because we know that in communities there are things that are going to be happening culturally.

We celebrate culture every day of our lives but NAIDOC is an opportunity to come together with community from all over the place, and to come to big events and showcase creative concepts such as Treasures Dance Production, that you’ve been working on with community as well. It is a big celebration.

Find out about NAIDOC events in your region.

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Keegan Thomson

About Keegan Thomson

Keegan Thomson is an assistant editor and journalist for The QUO. Keegan has had his work published in The Guardian and The Sydney Morning Herald. He is a community-minded journalist who is always looking for the next story, no matter how big or small it may be. As well as working for The QUO, he works for a number of independent newspapers in Western Sydney including Western News and Nepean News.

More from Keegan Thomson


First Nations
Parramatta NSW, Australia
21st July 2017