Sunday 5th July marks the beginning of the 2015 NAIDOC week, celebrating the history, culture and achievements of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia as well as the Torres Strait Islanders.
Most states will hold some form of celebration, with local communities planning events together, such as barbecues, crafting days, films and stories. Indigenous creations play a huge part in the week long celebrations, with a special interest in literature and artwork as well as traditional music and dreamtime stories.
This year’s theme is “We All Stand On Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate”, which highlights the spiritual and cultural connection of Aborigines and Islanders to the land and the sea. This is beyond a celebration of the peoples themselves, but a way to encourage contemporary Aussies to consider the earth more carefully and to help preserve it.
Sacred sites will see talks from elders, traditional stories and help in learning traditional names and myths about the place. It will also be a fantastic opportunity to see how the original inhabitants of Australia protect this beautiful land.
While there will be tons of local events highlighting the most important element of the week – understanding and respecting the Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders – there’s also a bit of time to have a traditional Aborigine afternoon snack of Billy tea and damper. Check out the recipe:
Damper (Aboriginal Style)
Damper is actually the European word for this soda bread, although it was invented by the Aboriginal peoples for travelling and camping. It owes its roots to traditional bush bed, made from seasonal nuts and grains, and to cook in the traditional way you should place on flattened ashes to cook for ten minutes, then cover with the ashes and cook for another thirty minutes.
- 2 cups plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup water
- Preheat your oven to 180°C
- Mix together the flour and salt, then slowly add the water until it formed a stiff dough
- Shape the dough roughly into a round, and place on a greaseproof baking sheet
- Bake for one hour
- Serve by breaking apart, and don’t eat the crust if it’s too hard. As the bread was traditionally cooked in ashes, the dirty crust would usually be discarded.
You Will Need:
- Billy pot
- Fire or burner
- Few tablespoons of loose tea leaves
- Stick or spoon for stirring
- A mug
- Optional: sugar, honey or milk
- Fill the billy pot up to ¾ with water
- Put it on or over the stove or fire and allow the water to boil
- Add tea leaves to the boiled water
- Stir together and let it steep for a few minutes
- Pour the tea out slowly, and add milk, honey or sugar to taste.
Make sure to get down to your local NAIDOC week celebrations to enjoy some true native culture, and remember to respect the Sacred Ground!