- NAIDOC Week (National Aboriginal & Islander Day Observance Committee) is a national week of celebrations and remembrances. Held each year throughout Australia, NAIDOC is a celebration of the uniqueness of Indigenous traditions and cultures.
The spirit of Indigenous culture comes alive through the celebrations and festivals of its people.
Music, song and dance are a very important part of Indigenous life and customs. Dances tell the stories of ancestral heroes, family links and clan rights and are passed down from one generation to another, along with songs recounting the history of their lives. There are songs for healing the wounded and the sick, injuring the enemy, bringing rain, arresting floods or causing the wind to turn back.
Ceremonial performances are seen as the core of cultural life, bringing together song, dance, body decoration, sculpture and painting. And, it is traditional to perform at large ceremonial gatherings, so today’s modern festivals are a natural evolution from that.
These celebrations bring elders and the young together to proudly show the ancient movements of their country, keeping living cultures and traditions. Some are traditional festivals; others more modern fusions of music and dance – featuring high profile contemporary Indigenous artists and groups, but also drawing a large non-Indigenous crowd. Sport is also embraced by Aboriginal communities and is a feature event at some festivals.
They range from smaller community festivals held around Australia each year in remote communities to major Aboriginal festivals attracting visitors from around the globe.
Laura Dance and Cultural Festival (QLD), June 2013
A spectacular celebration of Cape York and Torres Strait Islander culture, the Laura Dance and Cultural Festival is held every second year in June at the Laura Dance grounds, about 300kms north-west of Cairns in the Cape York region. Organised by the Ang-gnarra Aboriginal Corporation, the festival unites communities in the Cape York region for a weekend of song, dance and celebration. The festival draws visitors from around the world keen to witness almost 1,000 performers share traditional song, music and dance, displays of arts and crafts, and cultural workshops with Elders. There are also guided tours to the nearby world-famous Quinkan Rock Art sites and a Night Walk for Reconciliation.
NAIDOC Week (National), 7-14 July, 2013
NAIDOC Week (National Aboriginal & Islander Day observance Committee) is a national week of celebrations and remembrances. Held each year throughout Australia, NAIDOC is a celebration of the uniqueness of Indigenous traditions and cultures.
The Garma Festival (NT), 1-2 September, 2012
The Garma Festival is held each year at Gulkula in Arnhem Land. Regarded as Australia’s most significant Indigenous cultural exchange event, the Garma Festival attracts many clan groups from the local area as well as representatives from neighbouring Aboriginal peoples throughout Arnhem Land, the Northern Territory and Australia. Garma is an opportunity to share knowledge and culture of Indigenous Australia by experiencing and being directly involved in a spectacular display of cultural practice and cross cultural learning, a unique line up of entertainment, education and real cultural interaction.
Desert Mob (NT), 7 September – 21 October 2012
Desert Mob is an Aboriginal art event held in Alice Springs that celebrates a living art movement and the oldest living culture in the world. The annual exhibition, presented by the Araluen Galleries at the Alice Springs Cultural Precinct, features new art works from Aboriginal owned art centres throughout Central Australia. This event brings together Desart member art centres in a unique exhibition that celebrates the vibrancy of Aboriginal art from this region. It is the only exhibition that offers a snapshot of what is currently happening in contemporary art from Aboriginal owned art centres in Central Australia. Desert Mob will comprise more than 300 recent artworks from approximately 35 art centres in Central Australia.
Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, 10 August – 30 October 2012
The Telstra Art Award is the premier national Indigenous event on the arts calendar. It presents up-to-date developments in contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and attracts a range of Indigenous artists from all parts of the country. The diversity and style of work submitted each year reflects the changing face of contemporary Aboriginal art practice. The opening ceremony is a major cultural celebration spectacularly staged at sunset overlooking Darwin harbour.
Torres Strait Cultural Festival
The Torres Strait Cultural Festival is held every second year on Thursday Island and celebrates the region’s rich culture - highlighting art, dance and food and presenting a vastly different cultural perspective to the mainland Aboriginal cultures.
The term ‘Indigenous’ refers to Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the tourism businesses that showcase these cultures. Aboriginal people are the Indigenous population who live on the mainland of Australia.