Australia’s National NAIDOC* Week, which takes place in the first week of July each year (Sunday to Sunday), provides opportunities to celebrate the history, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The 2023 Naidoc Week theme, For our Elders, encourages Australians to learn more, to listen more and to contemplate the hopes, aspirations and wisdom of the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth.
Brigidine Sisters acknowledge the indigenous people of Australia, give thanks for their care of the land for thousands of years and for the invitation to respond to 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart.
As we prepare for a National Referendum regarding an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, NAIDOC Week also encourages Australians to pause, to take time, to consider and to discuss our role in generating a just and shared future.
Two reflection opportunities from Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Sydney:
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) offers a statement:
And a Prayer:
NATSICC and Caritas Australia have launched www.indigenousvoice.church – a website designed to empower us to make an informed decision at the 2023 Indigenous Voice to Parliament Referendum. The site contains a collation of statements of Catholic Organisations, resources to assist in discernment: https://indigenousvoice.church/
A Conversation Resource from this website:
Let us pray…..
Meanwhile, in Aotearoa New Zealand: Matariki Day
“Australians can be proud that our First Peoples have presented a request to be heard through a Constitutional Voice. A more civilised and gracious response to a history littered with violence is hard to imagine.
What a remarkable opportunity Australians have been given to forge greater unity in our nation. Have we the courage to face our First Nations peoples and assure them that they are loved?”
– Bishop Vincent Long, Easter Reflection, 2023.
*The acronym NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginals and Islanders Day Observance Committee.