NAIDOC celebrations are held around Australia in the first full week in July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week (see History of NAIDOC), and its acronym has become the name of the week itself.
The week is celebrated not just in the Indigenous community, but also in increasing numbers of government agencies, schools, local councils and workplaces.
In addition to the many local activities, NAIDOC celebrations traditionally have a ‘national focus’:
- a national focus city or town is chosen - for 2007 it is Darwin, Northern Territory
- celebrations are based on a national theme - the theme for 2007 is 50 Years: Looking Forward, Looking Blak
- a national NAIDOC poster based on the theme is distributed, chosen from entries to the NAIDOC Poster Competition
- celebrations culminate in an awards ceremony and ball held in the focus city - in 2007 the National NAIDOC Awards and Ball will be held at SkyCity Casino, Darwin on Black Friday, 13 July 2007
- at the ball, national awards are given to Indigenous achievers in a number of categories.
Tyeli Hannah is the winner of the 2007 NAIDOC Poster Competition. Tyeli is a graphic designer for VIBE Australia, an Indigenous media company based in Sydney.
The Australian Aboriginal Flag was designed by artist Harold Thomas and first flown at Victoria Square in Adelaide, SA, on National Aborigines Day, 12 July 1971. It became the official flag for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra after it was first flown there in 1972.
Since then, it has become a widely recognised symbol of the unity and identity of Aboriginal people.
In view of the flag’s wide acceptance and importance in Australian society, the Commonwealth took steps in 1994 to give the flag legal recognition. After a period of public consultation, the Aboriginal flag was proclaimed a ‘Flag of Australia’ under section 5 of the Flags Act 1953 in July 1995.
In 1997 the Federal Court recognised Harold Thomas as the author of the flag.
The Aboriginal flag is divided horizontally into halves. The top half is black and the lower half red. There is a yellow disk in the centre of the flag.
The meaning of the three colours in the flag, as stated by Harold Thomas, is:
- Black - represents the Aboriginal people of Australia
- Red - represents the red earth, the red ochre used in ceremonies and Aboriginal people’s spiritual relation to the land
- Yellow disk - represents the Sun, the giver of life and protector
The Aboriginal flag should be flown or displayed with the black at the top and the red at the bottom.