The 2023 theme for NAIDOC Week is ‘For Our Elders’. This week, until 9 July, Australians are invited to celebrate, recognise and learn about the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Luckily, there is no shortage of opportunities to do just that in the capital, with something to suit all ages and interests.
You could get hands-on and learn a nursery rhyme in the Ngunnawal language, take a class in traditional weaving techniques or attend a First Nations stargazing experience.
For those who’d like to learn more about the history and achievements of Indigenous people, there are several documentary screenings and tours of important local sites.
Those with younger children can enjoy a fun NAIDOC Week-inspired day out in Woden or Belconnen, a First Nations storytelling activity at Parliament and more.
When: Sunday 2 to Sunday 9 July, from 11:15 am daily
Where: Old Parliament House, 18 King George Terrace, Parkes
Cost: Free; book here.
On these special 45-minute tours of the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, you will hear stories of how First Nations Australians and their supporters have fought injustice and brought about change. Visit heritage spaces and learn about the contributions of leaders and activists like senator Neville Bonner, Wenten Rubuntja, Charlie Perkins and Faith Bandler.
When: Tuesday 4 July, 10:30 am to 3:30 pm
Where: Woden Town Square and Woden Library
Cost: Free, no booking required.
The Canberra Community NAIDOC Week Event, organised by the ACT community sector, includes performances and workshops by First Nations performers and artists, stalls, kids’ activities, free food and drinks and more. The event kicks off at Woden Library with a didgeridoo performance and concludes at Woden Town Centre with a stone axe-making workshop, with lots more in between.
When: Tuesday 4 to Sunday 9 July, various times
Where: Parliament House, Parliament Drive, Canberra
Cost: Various prices; book here.
Parliament House NAIDOC Week events include First Nations stargazing and children’s storytelling experiences, a special illumination of Parliament House, a demonstration by Aboriginal artist Kayannie Denigan, three themed tours of Parliament House itself, its surrounding gardens, and the forecourt mosaic.
When: Thursday 6 to Saturday 15 July, various times
Where: Tuggeranong Arts Centre, 137 Reed Street North, Greenway
Cost: Free to $30 per person; book here.
Tuggeranong Arts Centre’s celebrations begin with the Whine and Weave raffia weaving workshop and live music. Later in the week, exhibiting artist Natalie Bateman presents a workshop and artist talk, followed by more live music, and finally, Duncan Smith’s Back to Country exhibition will open with a celebratory performance from the Wirradjuri Echoes and an all-ages art workshop.
When: Friday 7 July, 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: University of Canberra Refectory, 11 Kirinari Street, Bruce
Cost: $6.61; book here.
This special screening of The Last Daughter will feature a live discussion with its creator afterwards. The new Australian documentary about love, loss and reconnection follows Indigenous woman Brenda on her journey to uncover the truth about her path and reconcile two sides of her family. Along the way, she uncovers buried secrets, government lies and connections to family and culture.
When: Friday 7 and Saturday 8 July, various times
Where: National Film and Sound Archive, McCoy Circuit, Acton
Cost: Free to $12; book here.
NFSA’s Ngara (‘Listen’ in Dharawal language) program will screen Buried Country (2000) and Lousy Little Sixpence (1983). The first film is about the history of Aboriginal country music over six decades and includes a live performance from Wiradjuri singer and guitarist Jerikye Williams, while the second is about the early struggle for Aboriginal land rights and self-determination.
When: Saturday 8 July, 11 am to 2 pm
Where: Belco Arts, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen
Cost: Free; no booking required.
Belco Arts’ NAIDOC Week family fun day returns for its eighth year. Expect workshops, music and dance performances, artist stalls, and exhibitions from the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Plus, Yerrabi Yurwang Child and Family Aboriginal Corporation and others will bring kids’ activities to promote cultural sharing between the youngest community members.
When: Sunday 9 July, 1 pm to 4 pm
Where: The Link @ Ginninderry, 1 McClymont Way, Strathnairn
Cost: Free; book here.
The Ginninderry Conservation Trust team are hosting a special NAIDOC Week event featuring Ronnie Jordan from Culture on the Move, teaching traditional weaving techniques, like twining and coiling. Meanwhile, the Caring for Country team will cook up some wattle seed damper and Alinta Barlow will perform her songs about living on country and storytelling.