NAIDOC celebrations are held around Australia each year in July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The theme for this year’s celebration celebrates the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions to the Federal Parliament. The petitions protested the Commonwealth’s granting of mining rights on land excised from Arnhem Land reserve and sought the recognition the Australian Parliament of the Yolngu people’s traditional rights and ownership of their lands. The petitions were the first traditional documents recognised by the Commonwealth parliament and helped to shape the nation’s acknowledgment of Aboriginal people and their land rights.
Marist Sisters in Australia rejoice in the rich heritage of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We pray that their culture may be treasured and respected by us all.