NAIDOC Week, taking place this year from 4–11 July, is a time for all Australians to partake in and celebrate the culture and knowledge of our diverse First Nations peoples. It is celebrated across the country in hundreds of activities from bush walks, festivals and craftwork to movie nights, team sports and art exhibitions. NAIDOC Week is therefore the perfect time for students to not only learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture but to engage with these aspects in fun ways.
Every year, NAIDOC Week has a different theme. This year’s theme is ‘Heal Country!’ which, according to the official NAIDOC website, ‘calls for all of us to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.’ This theme makes for the perfect opportunity to tie understanding of sustainability and protection of our beautiful country into discussion of ATSI culture.
Let’s teach! Primary has several lessons that can be tied in with NAIDOC Week or its ‘Heal Country’ theme.
Key curriculum codes: ACHASSK064 (Australian Curriculum), HT2-2 (NSW Syllabus), VCHHK076 (Vic. Curriculum), ACHASSK064 (WA Curriculum)
This lesson can serve as an introduction or lead-in to any other NAIDOC Week activities. It briefly explains the week’s history, purpose and possible activities.
Key curriculum codes: ACHASSK045 (Australian Curriculum),HT1-2 (NSW Syllabus), VCHHK064 (Vic. Curriculum), ACHASSK045 (WA Curriculum)
This lesson explores the significance of Uluru. Since 2019, tourists have no longer been able to climb the famous rock. Students may like to discuss why this is the case and how they could relate it to NAIDOC Week 2021’s ‘Heal Country!’ theme.
Key curriculum codes: ACHASSK069 (Australian Curriculum), GE2-1 (NSW Syllabus), VCGGK084 (Vic. Curriculum), ACHASSK069 (WA Curriculum)
This lesson explores some of the many types of sacred ATSI sites that can be found across Australia. Students may like to investigate recent cases of sacred sites being threatened by industrialisation. What can they do to help protect these places?
Key curriculum codes: ACHASSK107 (Australian Curriculum), HT3-1 (NSW Syllabus), VCHHK089 (Vic. Curriculum), ACHASSK107 (WA Curriculum)
This lesson talks about the damaged cause by the environmental changes of the first Australian colonists. Despite these changes happening hundreds of years ago, they still impact our environment today and harm the ATSI lands. It may be beneficial for students to consider the impact modern-day actions will have on the Australian environment of tomorrow and how we can protect our land by using sustainable practices as First Nations peoples have in the past.
Let’s teach! Primary wishes classrooms, teachers and communities everywhere a wonderful NAIDOC week. Explore your local ATSI culture, have fun and don’t forget to visit the official NAIDOC website to find nearby events that both you and your students can enjoy!