The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) today marked the start of NAIDOC Week 2020 by acknowledging this year’s theme, Always Was, Always Will Be and recognising that First Nations peoples have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
ACTCOSS CEO, Dr Emma Campbell said: “NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for Canberrans to celebrate and reflect upon the diverse histories, experiences and knowledge of First Nations peoples and their importance to our community.
“Australia is home to the oldest continuing living culture in the entire world. We can all take pride in the richness and power of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories.”
Dr Campbell continued: “NAIDOC Week 2020 also presents an opportunity for the ACT community to reflect on the injustice and hardships that Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples following Australia’s colonisation by European settlers.
“In doing so, we must recognise the ongoing impacts on First Nations Peoples of historical wrongdoing.
“ACTCOSS commits to listening to, learning from, and working with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people and organisations in Canberra to challenge ongoing injustice and discrimination and to move towards reconciliation.
“We must also celebrate Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories and their continuing and impactful positive contributions to the ACT’s economy and community.
“Canberra has a proud tradition of holding major events to celebrate NAIDOC Week including the NAIDOC Ball, Family Day and NAIDOC Awards.
“We respect the difficult decision taken by the Canberra and District NAIDOC Aboriginal Corporation to cancel the events this year to protect the health and wellbeing of the community.
“We support their call that we all still observe and celebrate NAIDOC Week 2020 in the ACT and pay tribute to the powerful theme: Always Was, Always Will be.
“We encourage all members of the community services sector and the broader Canberra community to find out more about NAIDOC week and the local events that are happening by visiting www.naidoc.org.au.
ACTCOSS will be hosting an event to mark NAIDOC week tomorrow, 10 November. You can still register online.
For more information about ACTCOSS’s Gulanga Program on our website.
ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.
For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.