Celebrating NAIDOC Week

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Celebrating NAIDOC Week
Aunty Patsy with students from St Thomas More's Catholic School

Students from St Thomas More’s Catholic School in Launceston have been learning about Tasmanian Aboriginal Culture from Aboriginal elder Aunty Patsy Cameron at the Gorge. They have looked at significant sites, heard stories, painted with ochre and made string from leaves. This is one of many ways Tasmanian Catholic Schools and Parishes have marked NAIDOC Week (July 1-8).

NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginal and Islander Day of Celebration. The day was first held in 1938 and celebrated the survival of the Indigenous Peoples of this land. On Australia Day 1938, protestors marched through the streets of Sydney, followed by a Congress attended by over a thousand people. One of the first civil gatherings in the world, it was known as the Day of Mourning.

It has now become a week-long celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island life and cultural riches. It is a time also to remember that our indigenous people were treated very unjustly and that all Australians must be reconciled.

The theme for NAIDOC Week 2012 is Spirit of the Tent Embassy: 40 years on.

It celebrates the people who strove to renew the spirit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in 1972. Forty years ago, the embassy became a powerful symbol of unity. Its founders instilled pride, advanced equality and educated the country on the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. To move forward, we must acknowledge our forebears, learn from their experiences and ask ourselves … what have their sacrifices meant for me and my family today.

We share this prayer from the newsletter of St Aloysius Catholic College, Kingston:

Father of all, you gave us the Dreaming,
You have spoken to us through our beliefs,
You then made your love clear to us in the person of Jesus.
We thank you for your care.
You own us. You are our hope.
Make us strong as we face the problems of change.
We ask you to help the people of Australia
To listen to us and respect our culture.
Make the knowledge of you grow strong in all people.
so that you can be at home in us
and we can make a home for everyone in our land.
Amen