AIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week is held in the first full week of July each year. NAIDOC celebrations are held around Australia in July every year to celebrate the history, cultural heritage, achievements, hopes and dreams of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
NAIDOC Week each year has a theme. ‘The 2017 theme – Our Languages Matter – aims to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song,’ explains the Committee. The importance of preserving Indigenous languages is highlighted by knowing that only around 120 of the 250 distinct language groups— less than half— that covered the Australian continent at the time of European contact in the late eighteenth century are still spoken today.
NAIDOC Week is a good week to remember with gratitude the Sisters of St John of God partnership with the Aboriginal people of Australia, a relationship which spans 110 years, beginning with the arrival of nine Sisters in Beage Bay Mission. The story of the early years has been told in the film Sisters, Pearls & Mission Girls. We are particularly conscious at this time of the passing in May of Sr Philomena Hockings who spent over 68 years in ministry with the people of the Kimberley region in Western Australia.
Today the Sisters continue this friendship in services with the people of the Kimberley Region. Learn more of our story by visiting the St John of God Heritage Centre, Broome online or in person.
St John of God Health Care is committed to understanding Aboriginal culture through its Reconciliation plan.