The first week of July not only ushers in the start of the new financial year but is also the start of NAIDOC week. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. The committee has a long-standing history and can be traced as far back as the 1920s. This week is a time to celebrate the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with this year’s theme focusing on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
A major cornerstone of indigenous culture is the sharing of stories. There are currently only about 120 languages still spoken since European contact when there was an estimated 250 languages at the time. Language has a deep spiritual connection to the land and is very significant in Aboriginal culture. Preserving these languages and the culture and significance behind them is of great importance. In almost every suburb in Australia, there is a river or significant spot with an Aboriginal name. Every Australian is encouraged this week to find out a little more about the meaning behind these Aboriginal names.
On Sydney harbour for instance there is a boat called the Mari Nawi that we here at Any Boat are fortunate enough to work with. Following our own research, we found out that Mari Nawi means “large canoe”. Quite a fitting name for a boat that is used by the Tribal Warrior Aboriginal Corporation to train Aboriginal people and help them get their Master Class V commercial maritime certificate. In survey for up to 150 guests the Mari Nawi conducts Harbour Cruises with optional extras that include Authentic Aboriginal performances. Throw in a bit of bush tucker catering for a great experience.
We encourage all Australians to get out there this coming week and not only take part in the festivities and activities of NAIDOC week, but to also take the time to learn a little about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and languages. Why don’t you look up what that the name of the street you live in or that suburb next door really means.
For those of you interested in Harbour Cruises on Mari Nawi you can visit the Any Boat website for more information.