When considering around 250 Indigenous languages where spoken upon European contact in the eighteenth century, it makes sense that the 2017 NAIDOC theme focuses on the importance of language and the role it plays in cultural identity.

Today only 120 of those languages are spoken and as elders pass on there is a fear they will continue to be at risk of being lost.

Wherever you live you can take part in NAIDOC Week. Each July across Australia events are held to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is encouraged that all Australians participate in these celebrations to support your local community.

This year CareSouth participated in local family fun day events within our communities of Illawarra, Shoalhaven and the South Coast (Ulladulla). We also attended local events out in Southern and Western New South Wales. As an organisation we were proud to be involved in this important and vital week.

 

Ever wondered what the name of your local community means? Here are some we learned this week within our regions,

Wollongong, NSW

Thought to mean 'sound of the sea' in the Dharawal language.

The word is pronounced Woll-long-gong, with the second syllable being accented, and is supposedly onomatopoeic for the pounding and surging of the waves.

Gundagai, NSW

Is said to mean, 'to cut with a hand-axe behind the knee' in Wiradjuri language. Situated on the bend of Murrumbidgee River, much like the bend in a knee, is the town Gundagai.

Narooma, NSW

A local Yuin word for 'clear blue waters'.

Canberra, ACT

Thought to mean 'meeting place' in the local Ngunnawal language.

We encourage you talk to your children, families, friends, and work colleagues about the importance of language in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and how essential it is to cultural identity. For more information about NAIDOC, visit their website, http://www.naidoc.org.au/.