NAIDOC week 2020 - events music books & more

By The Weekender Travel

November 9, 2020 | 6 minute read


This week is NAIDOC Week in Australia and what a wonderful time it is to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. 

NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’ but today it is synonymous with the week long event which celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

Not just reserved for First Nations people, the week is a chance for all Australians to come together and put a spotlight on the brilliant contributions of Indigenous Australians. 

The event usually runs in July but this year’s celebrations were postponed due to COVID. NAIDOC Week will run from November 8th to 15th, with the theme ‘Always Was, Always Will Be.’ If you’re not sure how to celebrate the week, here are some ideas.  

The Piinpi: Contemporary Indigenous Fashion exhibition curated by our First Nations Curator, Shonae Hobson
The Piinpi: Contemporary Indigenous Fashion exhibition curated by our First Nations Curator, Shonae Hobson

Watch, read and listen to Aboriginal content

Australia has some deadly Aboriginal singers and this week we will have Archie Roach, Thelma Plum, Ziggy Ramo and Emily Wurramara’s tunes on repeat in our offices. The ABC has a slew of Indigenous content planned, including a NAIDOC Week concert on ABC local radio on November 10. 

It will feature live performances by Kutcha Edwards, Kee’ahn and Emma Donovan and The Putbacks. triple j Unearthed will also feature 24 hours of music from First Nations artists on Saturday 14 November.

If you’re looking for something to watch, there are NAIDOC Week film screenings all over the country, find one close to you or check out the offerings online. NITV has a week-long programme showcasing the best of Indigenous television including dramas, documentaries and the premiere of the first all-Indigenous breakfast television show, Big Mob Brekky. 

The ABC is also launching a new true crime podcast this week called Thin Black Line which tells the story of the 1993 death in custody of Aboriginal teenager Daniel Yock. Some other podcasts we love include Always Was, Always Will Be Our Stories, Blacademia and Debutante: Race, Resistance and Girl Power. 

There are endless books by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors you can read but a few we recommend are The Yield by Tara June Winch, Tell Me Why by Archie Roach, Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia edited by Anita Heiss and Top End Girl by Miranda Tapsell. 

Attend an online or in person event

Events are being held all over the country from creative workshops to dance classes, discussion panels and art exhibits. 

You can hear from First Nations fashion designers in Bendigo, VIC; take an art class with Corey Turner in Woodcroft, SA and go home with your very own dot painting or celebrate local artists in Bega, NSW at the gallery exhibit, ‘Always Was, Always Will Be'.

Stunning art by @gillawarraarts Gillawarra Arts
Stunning art by @gillawarraarts Gillawarra Arts

Take a tour and learn something new about Australia

Take a tour with an Indigenous guide and immerse yourself in traditional Australian culture through history, beautiful art, delicious cuisine and storytelling. Learn about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who first roamed the land and see our beautiful landscapes from a new perspective. 

One tour happening this NAIDOC Week is a guided walk through the stunning Dharawal National Park in Campbelltown, NSW. Learn about the history and culture of the park from an Aboriginal Ranger. You'll hear stories passed down through generations and feel the connection between people and Country.  

Support blak business

There are so many creative and unique Aboriginal businesses out there but if you don’t know where to start, here are some great accounts to follow. 

Trading Blak is a collective that was formed to stop Non-Indigenous businesses exploiting the culture by selling Aboriginal products. They share products and content from Indigenous makers, creatives and business owners. Follow them on Instagram @tradingblak

Similarly, Buy Indigenous showcases the wares of Indigenous creators and makers. Follow them on Instagram @buyindigenous.

Some First Nations owned businesses we love include:

Native Swimwear Australia, the first Aboriginal fashion label in history to showcase at New York Fashion Week.

Clothing The Gap, a social enterprise with all profits going towards grassroots Aboriginal health and education programs throughout Victoria. 

Gammin Threads, a streetwear brand run by Tahnee, a proud descendant of the Yorta Yorta, Taungurung, Boonwurrung and Mutti Mutti nations. 

Red Ridge the Label, a clothing brand which features gorgeous prints by Aboriginal artists. 

Waymbul Studios, handmade ceramics crafted by Meg Croydon of Kuku Yalanji ancestry. 

Freestone Art by Wiradjuri woman Lauren. 

Sar.ra, a brand selling colourful artwork, clothing and jewellery by Goreng Goreng artist Rachael Sarra. 

Ginny’s Girl Gang, fierce denim jackets designed by proud Gomaroi woman Ginny. 

If you haven't started your Christmas shopping yet, now is the perfect time to start, with all these great businesses to support!

Follow and platform Indigenous Australians on social media 

It’s not white Australians’ turn to talk. It’s our turn to listen. Follow as many Aboriginal men and women as you can find and listen to their stories. Use NAIDOC Week to share their voices with your followers using the hashtag #amplifyaboriginalvoices. 

If you want to learn more about issues affecting First Nations people, the account Blak Business is a great place to start. It is run by Wiradjuri woman Olivia Williams and it starts conversations around all things relevant to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. 

Blak Business highlights the achievements of Indigenous Australians, provides resources and answers questions from non-indigenous people (like, can I get an Aboriginal tattoo?) Follow Blak Business on Instagram @blakbusiness.

Some other amazing people to follow on Instagram include @marlee.silva, @brooke.blurton, @misstap, @raejohnston, @balaluke, @shareenaclanton, @siannacatullo, @emilywurramara_, @sar.ra__, @archieroachmusic, @adamroy37 and @tara_june_winch. 

Proudly display your support 

One small thing you can do at home is to proudly fly an Aboriginal flag, hang a NAIDOC Week poster in your window or create your own sign acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land you live on. You can use the AIATSIS map to find out the language, social or nation groups from your area. This is also a great opportunity to learn about the Aboriginal history of your town. 

How will you be celebrating NAIDOC Week?

We think you should know

The Weekender's travel guides are independently written by real travellers. We do not receive any money from, or have a sponsorship arrangement with, any of the entities listed in or referred to in this article.