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2016 NAIDOC Week theme announced

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

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Songlines are the oldest living narrative of our nation, and will be the focus for the 2016 NAIDOC Week celebrations. NAIDOC Week 2016 will run from 3-10 July and is an opportunity for all Australians to come together to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people.

The 2016 theme, Songlines - The living narrative of our nation - will highlight the importance of Songlines to the existence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the Dreamtime describes a time when the earth, people and animals were created by our ancestral spiritual beings. They created the rivers, lakes, plants, land formations and living creatures. Dreaming tracks are sometimes called ‘Songlines’ which record the travels of these ancestral spirits who 'sung' the land into life.

The National NAIDOC Committee encourages all Australians to explore and celebrate how, through Songlines, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people remain connected to Country and have been able to maintain and share sacred stories and ceremonies for tens of thousands of years. 

National NAIDOC Committee co-chairs Anne Martin and Ben Mitchell said the theme is one which will showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people histories and deep spiritual connection to the land.

"Through learning more about Songlines, all Australians can celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as the oldest continuing cultures on the planet”, Ms Martin said.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people used Songlines to navigate vast distances and map oceans, waterholes, rivers, birds, animals, plants and hunting grounds.

The paths of Songlines are recorded in traditional arts, crafts, dance, songs and stories and Mr Mitchell said he is excited to see how the theme will be reflected in the artwork submitted as part the National NAIDOC Poster Competition next year.

“Songlines crisscross the Australian landscape and extend for large distances across many of the beautiful land elements we have in this Country. It will be great to see how artists interpret the theme and Australia’s landscape onto canvass”, Mr Mitchell said.

Poster Competition

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists are encouraged to start working on entries for the National NAIDOC Poster Competition that reflects the 2016 theme. The winning entry will be awarded a $5000 cash prize and will be recognised across the country on the 2016 National NAIDOC poster.

 The Competition is open now and will close - 5:00pm (AEST) Monday, 21 March 2016.

National NAIDOC Awards

The National NAIDOC Committee also encourages people to acknowledge the contributions and talents of outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals by nominating them for a 2016 National NAIDOC Award. There are ten categories covering the fields of art, education and training, sport, environment and leadership.

Award winners will be honoured during NAIDOC Week at the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony in Darwin on Friday, 8 July 2016.

Nominations are open now and will close - 5:00pm (AEST) Monday, 18 April 2016.

For entry forms and more information, visit the National NAIDOC website or talk to your nearest Indigenous Coordination Centre on 1800 079 098.

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