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Mt. Anderson, West Kimberley, Jarlmadangah Burru Community, Nyikina  Mangala language group | © James Fisher/Tourism Australia
Mt. Anderson, West Kimberley, Jarlmadangah Burru Community, Nyikina Mangala language group | © James Fisher/Tourism Australia

Celebrating National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day

Picture of Ellie Griffiths
Updated: 28 September 2016
The large country of Australia is greatly known for their relaxed outlook on life, and often viewed as a population that is primarily Caucasian; however, what is widely unknown is the country’s stats as one of the largest multicultural societies in the world. Long before European settlement, the Aboriginal Australians inhabited the land with hundreds of distinct groups – each with their own language and culture.

First observed in 1988, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day (Children’s Day) celebrates the strengths and the unique culture that is carried onto their children. On 4 August, this annual celebration displays the crucial impact that community, family and culture all play in each of these children’s lives. Coordinated by the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Island Child Care (SNAICC), Children’s Day provides the opportunity for all Australians to show all Indigenous children that there is support in every path they take.

Cultural body paint | © Cathy Finch

Cultural body paint | © Cathy Finch

This year, 2016, is the 29th celebration of this annual event, with the theme of the year being My Country, Our Country, We All Belong. This theme encourages and reassures all Indigenous children to feel connected and proud of the culture they hold, as well as ensuring belongingness prevails. Children’s Day further encourages everyone to unite and celebrate the achievements and support each child and their family in our society, which can potentially lead to positive outcomes of increased wellbeing, self-esteem and resilience.

This celebration has become an important event of the year since the Australian government introduced Australian Aboriginal culture into our international community. Having very recently occurred – following the apology to the Aboriginal communities over the stolen generation, in 2008, by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd – it is more important now than ever before to encourage this celebration of culture.

Aboriginal children | Courtesy of Tourism Australia © Valarc Films / Richard Gray

Aboriginal children | Courtesy of Tourism Australia © Valarc Films/Richard Gray

The SNAICC is a national, non-government peak body in Australia that represents the children and families falling within these communities. Every year, SNAICC encourages and provides support for improved development and education for our children. Further creating more welcoming and safe environments that connect them to the service supports both the children and their families require, Children’s Day has become the largest national day that celebrates our children.

Every year, SNAICC provides resources for services, schools, organisations and communities to use to help them celebrate this day. Encouraging an array of events to occur including a community morning tea or BBQ, concerts and performances, sporting days, a family fun day, arts and craft sessions, and storytelling with the elders of each community allow the children to learn more about their ancestry.

Indigenous Australians | © James Fisher/Tourism Australia

Indigenous Australians | © James Fisher/Tourism Australia

No matter where you are, or what you’re doing, ensure you take a moment to celebrate the achievements of our children on 4 August every year.