Wednesday, July 9, 2014

NAIDOC Week 2014

From the TU's Aboriginal Paralegal, John Mewburn:

It is once again that time of the year that the Tenants Union’ of NSW celebrates NAIDOC Week to recognise contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.

For those who don’t know, NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. This year’s theme is ‘Serving Country: Centenary and Beyond’, honouring all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have fought in defence of country.

(Artist: Harry Alfred Pitt)

Aboriginal people have been part of every theatre of war from Federation to now. It’s estimated that approximately 500 Indigenous soldiers fought in World War I and 5,000 in World War 2. This was at a time when Indigenous people weren’t considered Australian citizens, they weren’t counted in the census and most couldn’t vote.

Despite the discrimination Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers faced, many Indigenous Australians still enlisted to serve their country. This year’s theme is about ensuring the proper recognition for all Indigenous soldiers. In particular highlighting the sacrifices that have been made and the heroics and bravery that has been, and continues to be, displayed.

A couple of months ago Ned reflected on war, Aboriginal country and Australia's development as a property-owning society: read it here.

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