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This week marks the start of the NAIDOC celebrations, the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions of Indigenous Australians in various fields.
The theme for 2013 is 'We value the vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963.' The theme proudly celebrates the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions to the Federal Parliament. In July 1963, the Yolngu people from the Gove Peninsula in the Northern Territory sent two bark petitions to the Australian Parliament in an attempt to halt mining exploration in the area, and voice their traditional rights. Despite these petitions being unsuccessful, they are significant as the first traditional documents to be tabled in the Australian Parliament, and a catalyst to changes in constitution, the statutory acknowledgment of Aboriginal land rights by the Commonwealth in 1976 and the overturning of the obstacle of the concept of terra nullius by the High Court in the Mabo Case in 1992.
NAIDOC Week provides an opportunity for all Australians to come together and celebrate the unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. There are a number of events happening across Australia, including flag-raising ceremonies, community barbecues, traditional cooking and art workshops. You can find out more about what's happening near you by visiting the links below.
The National NAIDOC awards ceremony and ball will be held on 12 July in Perth. The annual awards recognise contributions from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across 10 award categories, including the Lifetime achievement award.
Source: NAIDOC, Indigenous.gov.au