The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, has welcomed next year’s national NAIDOC theme: Our Languages Matter.
Announced today, the theme focuses on the importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
Minister Scullion said Our Languages Matter was a great theme that would celebrate the role Indigenous languages played in cultural identity.
“For First Australians, language links people to their land and water – it is how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history is transferred through generations,” Minister Scullion said.
There were 250 distinct Indigenous language groups in Australia at the time Europeans first made contact. Now, only around 120 of those languages are still spoken and many are at risk of being lost.
“The Coalition Government recognises the importance of Indigenous language preservation – it is an important part of our nation’s history, and culture. We recently announced $22.8 million to help keep Indigenous languages alive and showcase traditional and contemporary Indigenous cultural and artistic expression,” Minister Scullion said.
Today also marks the start of the National NAIDOC Poster Competition which is centred on the Our Languages Matter theme. The competition is open now and will close at 5pm (AEST) on Monday, 20 March 2017.
“The 2017 theme provides an excellent opportunity for Australia’s cultural and educational institutions to develop learning materials, experiences, and displays,” Minister Scullion said.
“This work helps all Australians understand and appreciate the richness and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.”
NAIDOC Week 2017 will run nationally from 2-9 July and is an occasion for all Australians to come together to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. More information, including competition, nomination forms and ideas on how to celebrate, is available at: www.naidoc.org.au