The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is committed to empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – in Australia and overseas – to tell their stories; take up opportunities to promote their heritage and culture internationally; and have a strong voice on issues which affect them.
As part of our commitments under DFAT’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2016-2019 to recognise days of cultural significance to Indigenous Australians, the Department will celebrate NAIDOC Week 2016 with a series of events aimed at promoting respect and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
On Monday 4 July, the Department held its annual flag raising ceremony. The ceremony included a performance by Canberra-based Aboriginal dance troupe Wiradjuri Echoes, a Welcome to Country by Ngunnawal woman Ms Jude Barlow, and an Acknowledgement of Country by Torres Strait Islander Elder Ms Thelma Weston. Wiradjuri Echoes won the 2003 NAIDOC Week Indigenous Artist of the Year Award and have performed for the King and Queen of Sweden, and the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark.
Today, Tuesday 5 July, Acting Secretary Gary Quinlan will host the DFAT Secretary’s NAIDOC Week Reception, in partnership with the National Museum of Australia (NMA). The event will include the opening of an exhibition of “ghost nets” sculptures from Pormpuraaw Arts and Culture Centre in the Gulf of Carpentaria, as well as a display of Torres Strait Islander objects loaned from the NMA’s Indigenous collections. The exhibition and display will be open to the public until 19 July 2016. Director of the NMA Dr Mathew Trinca and Pormpuraaw artist Syd Bruce Shortjoe will deliver remarks.
On Wednesday 6 July, prominent Indigenous journalist and Wiradjuri man Mr Stan Grant will deliver the DFAT NAIDOC Week Address in partnership with the NMA. Mr Grant will speak about efforts to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution.
On Thursday 7 July, Aboriginal story-teller Mr Larry Brandy will hold community story-telling workshops for children in the atrium of DFAT’s RG Casey Building and at the Currawong Childcare Centre. The DFAT Social Club will also host the NAIDOC Charity Trivia Night in support of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.