Time for an official NAIDOC public holiday to celebrate world’s oldest living culture

[by First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria]

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Image: supplied

With NAIDOC Week 2022 drawing to a close, the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria Co-Chairs have renewed calls for the creation of an official NAIDOC Day public holiday. 

Assembly Co-Chair and proud Nira illim bulluk man of the Taungurung Nation, Marcus Stewart, said a NAIDOC Day public holiday would highlight the week’s importance and encourage the whole community to celebrate and show their commitment to creating a better future together. 

“We’re finishing up a great NAIDOC Week of celebrating our culture, our people and our people's incredible contributions to this country, imagine how deadly it would be to have a NAIDOC Day public holiday in future NAIDOC Weeks to truly mark its significance,” Mr Stewart said.  

“New Zealand celebrates the anniversary of the signing of the Waitangi Treaty with a public holiday, it’s time that Victoria had an official day that celebrates First Peoples too.”

 

Assembly Co-Chair and Bangerang and Wiradjuri Elder, Aunty Geraldine Atkinson, said a public holiday to celebrate First Peoples would be well placed in NAIDOC Week, as it evolved from an annual occasion of remembrance and resistance originating from boycotts to protest the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as far back as the 1920s.  

“Rather than a public holiday that rubs salt into our community’s wounds, a NAIDOC Day public holiday would be inclusive, and would be an opportunity to educate everyone about our history and our culture, and to celebrate our people’s many successes,” Aunty Geraldine said.  

The Assembly has created a petition calling for the creation of a NAIDOC Day public holiday.

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