Community News

Celebrate NAIDOC Week in Grafton

The Clarence Valley NAIDOC family fun day will be held on Thursday July 6 from 10am to 2pm at the Grafton showground. This year’s theme is ‘Our Languages Matter’. The family fun day provides an opportunity to celebrate Aboriginal culture and languages. Activities will include a free sausage sizzle, language demonstrations, mechanical bull, jumping castle, service provider stalls, commercial stalls, entertainment, indigenous games, prizes and dancing. For further information call 6642 8391. NAIDOC Week is held during the first full week of July – all Australians are invited to participate – and celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year’s theme, ‘Our Languages Matter’, highlights the importance of keeping “languages alive and the vital role they have in culture, identity, spirituality and the passing on of cultural knowledge among Indigenous communities,” the website states. According to the NAIDOC there are about 250 Aboriginal languages with more than 600 dialects existing before invasion, however, only about 60 languages are considered ‘alive’. On a national basis, 11 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people speak an Indigenous language at home, but three quarters of these speakers live in very remote areas – four per cent of those people live in major cities, however, most Aboriginal people live in major cities. In the 2011 Census, 83 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported speaking only English at home, similar to the proportion of non-Aboriginal people (80 per cent). The most ‘alive’ languages are: 18 per cent – Arnhem Land and Daly River region languages; 14 per cent – Western Desert languages; 11per cent Yolngu Matha; and, 11 per cent – Torres Strait Island languages (Creole, Kriol). In NSW, generally, less than 1 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people speak an Aboriginal language.