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NAIDOC Week’s origins can be traced back to 1938. The origins of NAIDOC Week can be traced back to the Aboriginal rights movement. On Australia Day 1938, protestors marched through the streets of Sydney about the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. This protest was one of the first major civil rights gatherings in the world and it became known as the “Day of Mourning”. Between 1940 and 1955 the Day of Mourning was held annually on the Sunday before Australia Day and was commonly known as “Aborigines Day”. In 1955 it was decided that Aborigines Day should include a celebration of Aboriginal culture, heritage and achievement. This is now celebrated as NAIDOC Week, which highlights the achievements of Indigenous people all over Australia. NAIDOC stands for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders day Observance Committee’ which was the name of the committee that was originally responsible for organising the national NAIDOC Week activities and over time the acronym has become the name for the entire festival.

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