Today is National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, a time for First Nations families and communities to celebrate the strengths and culture of our children.
Celebrated annually on August 4, the day represents an opportunity for all Australians to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, and the crucial impact it plays in the life of every First Nations child.
Born out of protest, the day was first recognised in 1988 amid bicentennial year and is the initiative of SNAICC – the National Voice of Our Children.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples felt a day was needed to celebrate our children, to give them confidence and make them feel special and included.
The date, August 4 was chosen as it has historically been used to celebrate the birthdays of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were taken from their families at a young age, without knowing their birthday – the Stolen Generations.
Proud Arrente/Luritja woman and CEO of SNAICC Catherine Liddle explains what this year’s Children’s Day theme ‘Proud in culture, strong in spirit’ means to her.
“What I love about it is, one of the reasons we celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day is because we know that our children thrive, they develop better, their well-being is better looked after, and their safety is better looked after if they have connection to their families, to their communities, to their culture, and to their languages.”
“So, I couldn’t think of a better theme to encompass all of that, then that one,” she said.
Ms Liddle said one of the key messages from Children’s Day is ‘share’ and encouraged mob to share and celebrate their stories.
“You can jump on to the Children’s Day website (aboriginalchildrensday.com.au) and see what other mob are doing around the country.”
“It could just be a reminder to sit down and share a bit about yourselves and how you grew up, be proud of that language if you’ve still got it and if you haven’t use what you have, look up languages, and really just celebrate.”
Catherine said events and celebrations are taking place across the country from 4 August in early years services, schools, communities, as well as online and at home.
“SNAICC has delivered more than 15,000 Children’s Day resources across Australia to remote communities as well as cities and regions in all states and territories. And this year, we are proud to hear the Solomon Islands have embraced National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day.”
“It has been a challenging year for many of our children and families, and Children’s Day provides an opportunity for us to acknowledge the strengths of our culture and communities – and most importantly the strong spirit of our children who will uphold Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions for generations to come.”