This week (7-14 July), NAIDOC Week, is a chance for the nation to celebrate some of the achievements of Indigenous people and to increase awareness of the discrepancy between the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.
Around seventy per cent of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live outside the major cities in large regional centres and rural and remote communities. The poorer general health of people in rural and remote areas, and their poorer access to health services and infrastructure, is an avoidable injustice for everyone in those areas.
Indigenous people experience a greater burden of ill health compared with non-Indigenous Australians in conditions such as cancer, kidney disease, respiratory disease, circulatory disease, rheumatic fever, rheumatic heart disease and hearing problems.
Part of NAIDOC Week is to recognise and celebrate Indigenous people through national awards in categories such as Caring for Country, Artist of the Year and Elder of the Year.
The awards ceremony this year is in Perth on Friday 12 July.
This year’s NAIDOC theme is ‘We value the vision: Yirrkala bark petitions 1963’. These petitions were presented to the Commonwealth Parliament in 1963 and were the first documents received by it that recognised the existence of Aboriginal law and claims to ownership of their ancestral lands.
NAIDOC Week is also an opportunity for all Australians to participate in activities run by schools, councils and community groups across Australia.
More information about NAIDOC Week can be found at www.naidoc.org.au
Applications for funding for next year’s NAIDOC activities across Australia are available by contacting NAIDOC at email@example.com
For more information about Indigenous health and rural health in general please see
NAIDOC: National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee