NAIDOC Assembly

A poem by Jonathan Hill, Old Erowal Bay, New South Wales.

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Silence descends
as the door is opened 
the Elders enter 
not one word spoken

The students stand 
as they walk down the aisle 
towards the droning yidakis 
that make them smile

We take our seats
and are welcomed to this land
in a dialect of Dhurga
by a young Koori man

The stage is cleared 
dancers fill the space 
their painted bodies 
move with grace

Speeches are given
about the importance of this day
a chance to celebrate our culture
And pave the path for a better way

We are taken outside 
the flags are raised 
we bow our heads 
for all our ancestors gave

We reflect on the heroes 
unsung and unadorned 
who carry the fire 
ensuring justice is born… [1]

Reflect on the poem

  • What does NAIDOC stand for?
  • What is a 'yidaki'?
  • What does this poem tell you about the importance of the event to Aboriginal people?

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View article sources (1)

[1] 'NAIDOC Assembly', Koori Mail 481 p.23 Please note that Jonathan is not Aboriginal to Australia, but has Indigenous ancestry from the Southern Philippines - the Mandaya and Kalagan Tribes located near Davao.

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2020, NAIDOC Assembly, <https://creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/arts/poems/naidoc-assembly>, retrieved 15 August 2020

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