NAIDOC Week is held in the first full week of July and provides an opportunity to celebrate Indigenous culture and achievements. NAIDOC traces its history back to the 1920s when the first organised groups were formed to advocate for the recognition of Indigenous rights and culture. In the 1950s a committee was formed (then known as NADOC) to oversee a day of remembrance and celebration of Aboriginal culture, later expanding to to cover an entire week in July. In the 1990s the committee became known as the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) in recognition of the distinct Torres Strait Islander culture.
At the conclusion of NAIDOC week, several NAIDOC Balls are held across Australia, including one in eastern Melbourne. The NAIDOC Ball includes an awards night that provides an opportunity to recognise achievements within Indigenous communities. This evening I attended the 2010 NAIDOC Ball in Croydon, where I was joined by Cr Rob Steane and several Councillors from the Shire of Yarra Ranges, as well as many non for profit organisations, businesses and Indigenous elders.
NAIDOC provides an opportunity to not only celebrate Indigenous culture but also to recognise the many individuals, organisations and businesses that are working to improve health, education and opportunities for Indigenous communities within Melbourne’s eastern region and beyond.