It's NAIDOC Week, an opportunity for us to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples.

The theme of this year's NAIDOC Week is Always Was, Always Will Be which recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.

A Smoking Ceremony led by Uncle Dean Kelly was held at the Randwick Hospitals Campus last week to prepare the hospital grounds for NAIDOC Week.

This week we are celebrating with activities for patients such as clap stick painting and a bush medicine garden tour.

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network Aboriginal Health Management Advisor Mick Scarcella says NAIDOC 2020 invites all Australians to embrace and acknowledge the true history of Australia– a history which dates back thousands of generations.

“The theme Always Was, Always Will Be doesn’t mean we own the land, the land owns us. We have a duty as Aboriginal people to continue looking after the land as custodians of the land, as we have done for many thousands of years.”

NAIDOC week, traditionally the first week in July, has been rescheduled due to COVID-19.

“We as Aboriginal people are so very thankful that we have been able to look after our people, who are classed as an  vulnerable population, throughout this pandemic, with minimal consequences for our Aboriginal population to date.”

“Even though we can’t have our annual community events, we can adapt as we have many times over the past year to celebrate the world’s oldest oral stories. There will be many NAIDOC events held virtually for educating our patients, their families and our staff. The events we do have will be held under strict COVID safe conditions. Keep an eye out for your chance to taste some true Australian Bush cuisine and submerge into a culture which has 65,000 years of untapped knowledge, waiting to be told.”