How Cairns libraries celebrated NAIDOC 2019

Cairns NAIDOC 2019 march. Image: Christine Stucley

Each year, NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture, contributions and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

In Cairns, our NAIDOC celebrations started early this year to align with the timing of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair. The Cairns NAIDOC March on 5 July 2019 was loud and passionate, with the theme Voice. Treaty. Truth. resonating with everyone marching. Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG) led the march with their Cairns NAIDOC 2019 chant.

Loud for our ancestors
Strong for our youth
We come with power
Voice. Treaty. Truth.

Congratulations to DIYDG whose chant will also be used at Innisfail’s NAIDOC march, with their acknowledgement.

This year’s event celebrated the vibrancy of the First Nation peoples in this region. Marchers were cheered on arriving at Fogarty Park for the NAIDOC Family Fun Day full of dance, music, food and market stalls. Presenters spoke about the Uluru Statement from the Heart that inspired this year’s theme of Voice. Treaty. Truth. It was the biggest turnout ever and people stayed well into the late afternoon.

State Library of Queensland, with the Cairns City Library, were among the many organisations publicising opportunities and assistance.

The Manunda Library staff and volunteers focused on First 5 Forever storytelling and activities tailored for children aged 0-5 years. The Manunda Library is located in the heart of the 3M suburbs (Manunda, Manoora and Mooroobool), an area of Cairns where a lot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live.

Older children participated in activities with State Library staff, creating bookmarks using the ‘Very Hungry Caterpillar’ colouring-in book. Children were encouraged to identify the traditional name for ‘caterpillar’ or foods from the story using a word list identified from the Traditional Owner groups in our region.

children's artwork
Very Hungry Caterpillar activity. Image: Josh Kitchens

Our booth promoted First 5 Forever and the Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs) with the photo wall showcasing IKC images attracting a lot of interest and discussion. Ideas were exchanged between the staff and volunteers, including program ideas that State Library staff will promote to the IKC network. Cairns City Library staff were inspired by State Library’s nature bracelet activity that attaches found objects to sticky tape to make a uniquely designed bracelet.

children doing craft activity
Children participating in NAIDOC week activities. Image: Josh Kitchens

State Library staff members Louise Hunter and Nathan Williams again volunteered many hours in their roles on the Cairns NAIDOC Committee, ensuring a program of events and community involvement throughout NAIDOC week.

What happened in your region? Share and inspire us with your IKC/library’s NAIDOC activities and events.

About the author
Christine Stucley is a Senior Program Officer, Local Government Coordination in the State Library of Queensland office based in Cairns.

Find out more about State Library’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and activities:

Indigenous Knowledge Centres of Queensland – Facebook Community

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and stories

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage – NAIDOC Week

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections

2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family history