What is National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day?

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day (NAICD) is held every year on 4 August and is dedicated to celebrating the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children within both families and communities.

Running for more than 30 years, this is an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to celebrate the strengths and culture of their children, and for all Australians to learn about the crucial role that culture, family and community play in the life of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child.

Here’s what you need to know about this important national day, as well as some ideas for getting involved.

History of the Day

Children’s Day has been run annually since 1988, and is an initiative of the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC), a national organisation that provides a voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

It is a day of celebration and pride for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families, which was originally created to communally mark the birthdays of children in orphanages and institutions who did not know their real dates of birth due to being taken from their families at a young age. It was intended to give these children – the Stolen Generations – confidence, and to make them feel special and included.

NAICD has since grown significantly, becoming a major event in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and community organisations.

This Year’s Theme and Ways You Can Celebrate

Every NAICD has a different theme, with the 2020 one being, “We are the Elders of tomorrow, hear our voice.” This theme aims to highlight the crucial role that enabling children’s voices to be heard plays in their journeys to become influential Elders and leaders of the future. It also honours the Elders who pass traditional knowledge down to children through stories and cultural practice.

There are more than 500 Children’s Day events held across Australia each year, including cultural events, storytelling, open days, morning teas, arts and crafts, concerts and community barbecues. Although COVID-19 will impact the celebrations in 2020, there are still many ways you can get involved.

For people who are able to safely gather with others, here are some great ideas:

  • Organise a picnic, sporting event or activities for children and young people
  • Hold a fundraising event for children in your community
  • Have a flag raising ceremony with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags
  • Bring Elders, families and their children together in your school or neighbourhood for storytelling and cultural activities.

For those needing to social distance, there are still many ways you can celebrate, such as:

  • Share the Children’s Day website on your social media feed, website or in your email signature to raise awareness amongst your family, friends and colleagues
  • Post a picture on social media showing how your child/children are connecting to their culture using the hashtag #KidsConnectedtoCulture
  • Learn more about the day through a range of educational resources, activities, posters, images and videos available here – and don’t forget to share them with others.

How are you going to celebrate this Children’s Day? We’d love to hear about your plans.

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