MEDIA RELEASE

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE AUSTRALIA

30 June 2000

NAIDOC WEEK 2000 - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as part of its continuing commitment to cultural and workplace diversity, is organising a program of activities to celebrate NAIDOC Week 2000 (2-9 July).

In the inclusive spirit of NAIDOC, all interested members of the Canberra community are invited to join DFAT staff and their families and friends in these celebrations.

NAIDOC - National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee - is an opportunity to celebrate and promote an understanding of Australia's indigenous heritage and culture. The theme for NAIDOC Week 2000 is "Building Pride in Our Communities".

The Department's activities commence at 1.00pm on Monday 3 July with an official flag raising ceremony at the main entrance to the R.G. Casey Building, Barton, where the Australian National, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags will be raised. Mr Eugene Vincent, an Aboriginal artist, will accompany the ceremony on the didgeridoo.

A flag raising ceremony will also mark the opening of NAIDOC Week activities at the Australian High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand. The Department's Aboriginal Art Exhibitions - "Seasons of Kunwinjku" and "Prints by Seven Australian Aboriginal Artists" - will be displayed in Australia's missions in Pretoria and Malta respectively and our Embassy in Paris is helping to promote the Bugarrigarra Dance Company and didgeridoo workshops at the Amiens Festival.

As part of the Canberra celebrations, there will be a display of artworks created by Indigenous students from the Canberra Institute of Technology. The works will include paintings, fabric design and furniture and be displayed in the Atrium of the R.G. Casey Building.

On Wednesday 5 July, the ACT Torres Strait Islander Dance Troupe, Gerib Sik, will perform in the Atrium at 12.30pm. The Troupe comprises seven dancers accompanied by the warup and lamut (drums) and the kulap (shakers). Traditional dances of the Eastern and Western islands of the Torres Strait will be performed.

On Friday 7 July, there will be a lunchtime address in the Gareth Evans Theatre, R.G. Casey Building, on the subject of Aboriginal community languages.