NAIDOC Week 2019: “Voice. Treaty. Truth.”

This year the United Nations celebrates International Year of Indigenous Languages – and what better year than for Indigenous voices to be heard – this is the basis for the theme of Naidoc Week for 2019.

The Indigenous language were the first words spoken on this continent, and pass down lore, culture and knowledge for a very long time. As a nation, we need to work together to preserve these. Did you know that languages can become extinct?

It’s that Indigenous voice that includes know-how, practices, skills and innovations – found in a wide variety of contexts, such as agricultural, scientific, technical, ecological and medicinal fields, as well as biodiversity-related knowledge.  They are words connecting country, an understanding of country and of a people who are the oldest continuing culture on the planet, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people want their voice to be heard, and it is imperative that Australia unites on hearing these voices and embracing all that has to be said.

As detailed in historical documents – the First Nations were excluded from the Constitutional convention debates of the 1800s when the Australian Constitution came into force.  Indigenous people were excluded from the bargaining table. The true story of colonisation must be told, must be heard, must be acknowledged. And hearing this history is necessary before Indigenous Australians and the country come to some true reconciliation, some genuine healing for both sides. And of course, this is not just the history of our First Peoples – it is the history of all of us, of all of Australia, and it needs to be shared for the future.

If voices are to be heard, and the truth is spoken – it needs to start now with the next generation of children, and these children who are in the world of Early Childhood Education. Start today by embedding quality practices that happen on a daily basis – have a Welcome Morning Song that acknowledges traditional owners of the land- past and present. Have a classroom where Indigenous words are simply a part of daily conversation, include Indigenous authors and stories of the Dreamtime every day – do not bring them out for one week of the year. By doing this practice once a year – you won’t make a change. Find your local Indigenous Elders or representatives in the community and start a conversation, invite them into your centre to talk about their history, and make them a part of your ongoing curriculum. You can make a difference – you just need to start.

Did you know the Indigenous voice in Australia is over 65,000 plus years old?

Do you know what your local area language dialect is?

You can find out by clicking the link below – what better time than now to expand your knowledge.

https://aiatsis.gov.au/explore/articles/aiatsis-map-indigenous-australia