Celebrating NAIDOC Week 2024

NAIDOC Week (July 7 – 14) will be acknowledged and celebrated by many Uniting AgeWell communities and residences over the week of celebration.

On 26 January 1938, a group of over 1,000 Aboriginal people gathered in Sydney to call for full citizenship and improved laws to protect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It was one of the first major civil rights gatherings in the world and became known as the Day of Mourning.

NAIDOC Week marks the first Day of Mourning and is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, history, and peoples.

This year’s theme is “Keep the Fire Burning, Blak, Loud and Proud and the poster promoting the week has been designed by Deborah Belyea – a proud member of the Samuawgadhalgal Cassowary Clan. She shows ancestors hands placing an ember into a burning fire. This ember, and the fire, represent the sharing of cultural knowledge from one generation to the next

Find out more about the NAIDOC Week theme and Deborah Belyea.

This year, a key part of NAIDOC week for the Uniting Church, is that we are marking the 30th Anniversary of the signing of the Covenant between the Uniting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Congress (Congress) and the Uniting Church in Australia (Church).

The covenant was a signed acknowledgement, agreement and commitment between the Church and Congress. It acknowledged colonisation, and injustices and disregard for culture, spirituality, values and beliefs, suffered by first peoples. It was a generous invitation to the church from congress to join them in laying a new foundation of partnership and collaboration, that would proactively work to right injustices, and support the development of first peoples spirituality, culture, and values.

“Uniting AgeWell marks the 30th anniversary of the covenant through our reconciliation work, starting by building right and just relationships between first and second peoples, in our workplace and beyond. We who are second peoples (non-Aboriginal), will listen to the stories of first peoples, learn from their wisdom and let their knowledge shape our thinking. We will make mistakes and learn! We will find ways to be part of truth-telling and accept the truth of Australia’s history towards first peoples. Watch for ways to be involved in the reconciliation partnerships as we seek to become a culturally safe and respectful workplace and continue to live out the Christian call to love one another.”

Uniting AgeWell’s Reconciliation Working Group

As we celebrate NAIDOC Week, the Uniting AgeWell Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group has met with the group leading the way for slowly building relationships with first peoples and first and second peoples. It will take time to listen deeply to each other and develop trust and is part of what is needed as a reconciliation focus becomes part of everyday life at Uniting AgeWell.

This is an essential part of the listening, storytelling, and learning. Let us open our hearts and minds as we seek to grow our understanding of what it means to walk together as first and second peoples in Uniting AgeWell and beyond.

The Director of Mission Reverend Clare Brockett encourages us all to learn the history and importance of NAIDOC week, including learning about the covenant.

Learn more about the 30th Anniversary of the signing of the Covenant